Chemicals Management

Person dropping liquid into a beaker

The global apparel industry accounts for high amounts of manufacturing chemicals use, and the discharge of these chemicals can threaten local water sources and affect people living in surrounding communities.



By Fall 2023

100% of water repellent, stain repellent, and/or weather resistant products are made without PFCs


  • 92% of fabrics with PFC-based finish were successfully converted or exited
  • Fabrics with PFC-based finishes were used in less than 2% of units across our brands, and 38% of products with water- or stain-repellent finishes were made using non-PFC based finishes

Our Approach

Our chemical restrictions, including our Restricted Substances List (RSL), Manufacturing Restricted Substances List (MRSL), and PFC Policy, are informed by global regulations, hazard- and risk-based considerations, and industry guidelines including the AFIRM Group RSL, ZDHC MRSL, and ZDHC Wastewater Guidelines. We communicate our requirements to our suppliers via our Code of Vendor Conduct (COVC) and Mill Minimum Expectations.

We aim to eliminate the discharge of hazardous chemicals within our supply chain, and we are working to phase out chemicals of particular concern, including by eliminating PFCs from our supply chain. . To empower our brands to make informed decisions and support supplier compliance, we have created an internal Dyeing, Finishing and Wet Processing toolkit. To facilitate compliance with our PFC Policy, we maintain an internal list of acceptable non-PFC-based finishes and materials for water repellent and weather-resistant performance, which we share with our suppliers.

Our approach to chemicals management includes three key components:  

  1. Industry partnerships and industry-aligned standards: We partner with industry groups—including the Apparel Impact Institute (Aii), the Apparel and Footwear International RSL Management (AFIRM) Group, and the Sustainable Apparel Coalition (SAC)—to implement a consistent set of tools and processes to support best practices, monitor supplier performance, and encourage the use of safer chemicals.  
  2. Supplier engagement: We expect our priority suppliers to complete the Higg Index Facility Environmental Module (FEM), which, among other aspects of environmental management, evaluates chemicals management practices. We have also integrated chemicals management and wastewater quality requirements into our supply chain programs including our Water Quality Program and our Mill Sustainability Program. We require suppliers to take appropriate corrective actions to address noncompliance.  
  3. Compliance and monitoring: Through third-party testing of products, product components, and wastewater effluent, as well as the use of industry data platforms, we monitor the performance of our supply chain and verify compliance with global chemical regulations and Gap Inc. chemical restrictions. Performance in our chemistry programs informs facility evaluation.

How We Manage Chemicals 

  1. Input Management
    The selection of better chemical inputs and starting materials is an essential part of reducing the use and discharge of hazardous chemicals.
  2. Process Management 
    Adherence to chemicals management best practices during manufacturing is critical for reducing both human and environmental risks.
  3. Output Management
    The outputs of apparel and footwear manufacturing include finished products as well as wastewater.