Sustainability Strategy

A commitment to widespread change

A pair of jeans

As Doris and Don Fisher built Gap Inc., they imagined a company that would also create opportunities for the people and communities touched by their business. In the decades since, we have been on a journey to realize this vision.  

We strive to ensure that the people who make our products work in safe, fair conditions. We are committed to minimizing our environmental footprint. And we are dedicated to supporting the communities where we operate. We do this by collaborating throughout our value chain and across government, business and civil society to address systemic challenges. We also seek to engage our employees and customers across all our brands in our effort to build a more sustainable world.

Our aim is to reimagine the way business can change the world.

As one of the leading apparel retailers, we rely on a world where people and the environment thrive. Like other global businesses, we recognize that we contribute to and have the opportunity to address systemic social and environmental challenges. We are committed to augmenting business value, minimizing our environmental impact and working with all sectors to achieve progress on global goals.

That’s why we have aligned our sustainability strategy with the United Nations (UN) global sustainable development agenda. Frameworks such as the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Paris Agreement on climate change have established a foundation that informs how business can contribute value to the planet and society. Using the global agenda as our guide, we have identified issues that are the most material to our business, and we apply our company’s core strengths, reach and skills development to maximize our impact. 

THE SHORT STORY 
SUSTAINABILITY STRATEGY 

  • Our sustainability strategy aligns with the global sustainable development agenda and is guided by frameworks including but not limited to the United Nations (UN) Guiding Principles on Business and Human rights, the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Paris Agreement on climate change. 
  • We are integrating sustainability more deeply into our business to create greater impact across our value chain. 
  • We focus on issues where we have the greatest opportunities for influence and impact: advancing people and communities, improving working conditions, water stewardship, climate resilience, circularity and product sustainability. 

Woman shopping in store

One of the key frameworks we use is the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, which defines the private sector's responsibility to protect, respect and remedy human rights. The principles outline the rights and needs of vulnerable people and emphasize how women and men may face different risks. Our Human Rights Policy  is based on the Guiding Principles to honor and protect the human rights of our approximately 117,000 employees and the millions of people involved in our supply chain. We want to ensure that all of our employees and the people in our partners’ facilities work in safe, fair conditions, and that they are treated with dignity and respect. 

Alongside hundreds of companies, we recognize the urgent need to address global climate change caused by anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions, as well as other environmental impacts caused throughout our value chain. In addition to establishing ambitious goals, and tracking and reporting on them, we are committed as a company to leadership on climate action, which complements our ongoing work protecting and ensuring access to the world's water resources.

We regularly assess Gap Inc.’s opportunities to advance progress on the SDGs, and review how our goals align with the global targets. This assessment revealed that our company’s sustainability efforts align most closely with six of the goals. In particular, we have a leadership opportunity to support SDG 8, Decent Work and Economic Growth, through our Supplier Sustainability  and our youth-employment program, This Way ONward. Some of our leading programs, such as our P.A.C.E.  women's empowerment program, support SDG 5, Gender Equality. This assessment also highlighted how we are advancing SDG 12, Responsible Consumption and Production, for the apparel retail industry.

Using the global agenda as our guide, we have identified issues that are the most material to our business, and we apply our company’s core strengths, reach and skills development to maximize our impact.

Core Sustainability Focus Areas

We recognize that we cannot lead on every issue; given our business operations and strengths, we prioritize our greatest opportunities for leadership to maximize impact. Gap Inc.’s latest sustainability materiality assessment helped us identify our material issues to those most important to our business and where we believe we can have the most impact, whether by working through our brands, in public-private nonprofit partnerships or in consortiums with our industry.  While not all topics may be found in the final list, we have programs addressing all topics in our definitions.

Our programs have three focus areas that together form a sustainable ecosystem:

  • Empowering Women: Our business is driven by women – from our business leaders to our customers, and to those who work in the apparel supply chain – and we are making industry-leading investments to help ensure they are empowered to reach their full potential.   
  • Enabling Opportunity: Creating sustainable economies and a culture of equality and belonging means we use the assets and scale of our business to enable access to opportunity.  
  • Enriching Communities: Gap Inc. has committed to becoming carbon neutral and water positive by 2050, eliminating single-use plastics from our value chain, and supporting a circular economy to protect natural resources and ensure healthy communities for generations to come.

“We are guided by the belief that our business can and should be a force for good. That's why we grow purpose-led brands that shape people's way of life.”

—Sonia Syngal, Chief Executive Officer, Gap Inc. 

Our Management Approach

Given our size, we feel a great responsibility to the planet and to the people who make our clothes. Our global scale also provides an opportunity to make a real difference. Our aim is to reimagine the way business can change the world. We are doing this by supporting long-term business performance while creating greater equality and opportunity, developing social and environmental innovations that allow people to fulfill their potential, and scaling these innovations by integrating them into our business and products. In addition to aligning our goals with the global sustainable development agenda, we follow an intentional approach.  

For all of our social and environmental programs, we:  

  1. Integrate Sustainability into Our Business:  We integrate sustainability as part of our end-to-end business strategy, through the creation of our products and through all of our operations. We create accountability for our sustainability strategy by setting goals across Gap Inc. that are shared with the relevant business units. Our Global Sustainability team is integrated into our brands and operations to enable sustainability outcomes.  
  2. Set Ambitious Goals: We focus on key indicators across our company so that we can measure our progress on delivering real benefits to the people and communities we serve.  
  3. Make Progress Toward Our Commitments: We contribute in a meaningful way to the people and places we rely on for our business—which also helps our company succeed.
  4. Form Partnerships with Civil Society, Governments and Other Sectors to Increase Collective Impact: By partnering with organizations from the local to the global level, we are able to deliver impact on a bigger scale and create long-term, sustainable progress.

Strategy

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Product Life Cycle

An overview of our impacts and sustainable practices. Learn More

Materiality

Prioritizing what matters most. Learn More

Acting with Integrity 

Living our values every day. Learn More

Engaging Stakeholders

Working together for greater change. Learn More

Governance 

Providing oversight through collaboration. Learn More

Managing Risks

Protecting people and our business. Learn More