Doing Our Part on Climate
Doing Our Part on Climate The time to act is now - for all of us
Climate change is a global challenge that transcends boundaries, affecting people and communities everywhere. We view it as both an environmental issue and a human rights issue, as it poses a threat to such basic needs as having clean air to breathe and a safe environment to live in. What’s more, people who face the challenges of poverty or lack of opportunity are often most affected by environmental harms and have the fewest resources with which to cope. Few issues carry such an urgent need to come together to forge solutions.
We view climate change as both an environmental issue and a human rights issue.
We know that climate change holds the potential to impact our business, as well as the many people throughout the world whose lives we touch. And we feel an ethical responsibility to address this issue. The apparel industry causes significant environmental impacts, including greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Our company can only thrive in a world with abundant natural resources and a healthy environment that supports the well-being of all of us. We also believe that addressing climate change benefits our business, making us more efficient and enhancing our connection with customers, employees and other stakeholders. When we reduce our energy usage and emissions, we are not just doing our part, but becoming part of something bigger – a global effort to solve one of society’s most critical challenges.
Alongside our supply chain work, we recognize we have the greatest power to reduce our impact within our own operations. Our transportation team also works to achieve emission reductions while streamlining our logistics. These efforts reduce environmental impact and are cost-effective.
We focus primarily on energy and waste when it comes to the environmental impacts of our own operations. Taking action in one area, like waste, can also reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. We believe it is vitally important that we address the urgent challenge of climate change—and that integrating climate change into our business strategy contributes to a competitive advantage in several ways, as it:
- Reduces our operating costs by increasing energy efficiency and reducing consumption
- Positions us well to adapt to a fast-changing regulatory environment affecting energy use, product marketing and labeling and store construction
- Helps us improve our reputation and build support from a range of stakeholders, including customers, employees, investors and environmental organizations
Climate change affects us all, and we feel an urgency to act both individually and alongside others. Since 2007, we have been actively engaged with Ceres, a leading nonprofit organization dedicated to mobilizing the business community to build a sustainable economy. As a member of Ceres’ Business for Innovative Climate and Energy Policy (BICEP) coalition, we advocate for progressive policy action on climate and energy issues, and publicly affirmed our commitment to the Paris Agreement on climate change.
Our climate goal—to achieve a 50% absolute reduction in the GHG emissions of our owned and operated facilities globally between 2015 and the end of 2020—builds on our previous goal to reduce our absolute U.S. GHG emissions 20% by 2015, based on a 2008 baseline. We exceeded that goal by achieving a 37% reduction by the end of fiscal 2015. As a result of our ambitious target, we were pleased to receive the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Climate Leadership Award for "Excellence in GHG Management – Goal Setting” in 2016, the second time we’ve received this award.>
Our company can thrive only in a world with abundant natural resources and a healthy environment that supports the well-being of all of us.
Retail stores are the focus of Gap Inc.’s energy program since they generate approximately 85% of our direct (scope 1 and 2) GHG emissions. We are taking steps to adapt to climate change and regulatory changes by piloting and expanding energy-management solutions for our retail operations, updating HVAC systems and exploring renewable energy options.
To work toward our 2020 emissions-reduction goal, we used the EPA EnergyStar platform to analyze differences in store performance and prioritize regions, brands and initiatives with the greatest opportunities for energy improvements. We piloted a new energy-efficiency program at 100 stores across North America to provide real-time monitoring and management of our energy use. We have installed LED lighting—which use 80% less energy than conventional lights—at over 1,000 of our stores. Not only do these lights reduce our energy use, they last five to 10 times longer and they pay for themselves in just two to three years.
In addition to this work, renewable energy will likely be important for us to reach our goal, and we are exploring options that achieve significant reductions while balancing business needs.
In 2011, we joined a voluntary government and industry collaboration known as the SmartWay Shipper Program, which brings together carriers, freight shippers and logistics companies to improve fuel efficiency.
In addition to being a certified EPA SmartWay shipping partner, we became a Canadian SmartWay partner in 2013. We were also selected as a 2016 SmartWay High Performer. We have committed to increasing the amount of freight we ship by SmartWay carriers by 5% each year. We also have committed to using cleaner modes of transportation and encouraging the use of fuel-saving strategies and technologies. Moving forward, we are working to integrate more of our business operations into the SmartWay program and improve our data collection to better measure results.
We were selected as a 2016 SmartWay High Performer for our efforts to use cleaner modes of transportation and encouraging the use of fuel-saving strategies.
We recognize that our supply chain represents an even larger carbon footprint than our direct operations. To address this, we are working closely with our product suppliers to measure the environmental footprint of our supply chain. Gap Inc. was one of the first members of the Sustainable Apparel Coalition to execute a large-scale rollout of the Higg Index to our entire cut-and-sew and fabric mill suppliers. Our goal is to reduce the emissions intensity of Gap Inc.’s products and manufacturing processes and, therefore, reduce climate risk from potential sourcing impacts.