The goal is set: Gap Inc. unveiled a commitment to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions by 50 percent in its owned and operated facilities by 2020.
By focusing on facilities owned and operated by Gap Inc. — including its more than 3,000 Gap, Old Navy and Banana Republic stores — it will address a significant chunk of the company's environmental footprint overall, Buzzfeed News reported. The approach includes more efficient LED lighting and smart thermostats at stores, turning off unnecessary lights at night and using an industry shipment program to improve fuel efficiency.
“Certainly in response to the climate negotiations in Paris and with what we're seeing in the world, we feel this is an appropriate step for our company," Melissa Fifield, the senior director of sustainable innovation at Gap Inc., told BuzzFeed News. “We have a large store footprint and the greenhouse gas emissions lighting those stores has a fairly sizable impact."
Additionally, the plan also includes diverting 80 percent of Gap Inc. U.S. facility waste from landfills.
At the end of 2015, the company successfully reduced GHG emissions by 38 percent from 2008 levels.
While reducing energy usage, waste and emissions is ultimately an environmental and human rights issue, it's also good business.
“The beautiful thing about energy savings, unlike some other areas, is it's very directly tied to cost, and as the cost of energy goes up, there's an incentive in the business to save that energy as well," Fifield said. “There's a significant environmental impact and savings to the business as well."
The company has become an established leader among its retail peers for efforts like these. Last year, Gap Inc. was named to the 2015 Dow Jones Sustainability Indices, one of the industry's most credible benchmarks for sustainable business. Furthermore, its leaders have spoken out about everything from stewarding an inclusive economy to the global impact of a community's access to clean water.