Public Reporting Working Group Statement

Public Reporting Working Group Statement

Any report is a snapshot of that company at a particular moment in time that describes where a particular company is. Much can be written to describe where a company is at a particular moment, using data, measurements, photos, etc. However what is really important is how the company, or any organization  reporting, looks at where they are at that moment in time, how they got there and where they need to go as they plan their work for the future.  

Gap’s 2017 report provides a comprehensive picture of where the company is at the present moment. It supports and fills out that picture with data, descriptive writing and photos to give a broader picture of the goals of the reporting company and progress in achieving these goals.  Good reports include challenges, such as negative findings in factory audits, and how they are being addressed. It is about process and content, not just one or the other. 

The 2017 Gap report is such a report. For the PRWG, some members of which have worked with Gap since their first report published in 2004, this report continues to describe the process and content of the on-going work at Gap that we have seen.  In the diverse areas of the environment, ecology, worker rights and improving the workplace, product development, etc. as well as reporting against industry accepted standards such as the GRI Reporting Guidelines, Gap continues to describe its work and its in-going challenges in detail. 

The 2015 Gap CEO letter published on the Gap sustainability website describes the work most accurately when he writes “Every Gap product is part of a bigger story”. He goes on: “What that story is, however, can be tough to know at first glance. Was a shirt or jacket sewn by someone who works in safe and fair conditions? Was care taken to mitigate any potential environmental harm caused by the manufacturing process? Were the people whose lives were touched by the creation of a piece of clothing affected in a positive way?” Of course there are additional questions to ask…but it is the openness to asking, and answering the questions that is important. 

In working on this report, Gap shared its decisions: to move towards more frequent reporting of data related various aspects of the work and urge Gap to make available updated key performance data annually through its website. We realize the tremendous amount of work that goes into reporting well and commend Gap for accepting this work as part of the on-going process for positive change. 

Gap’s continued support for the P.A.C.E. program (Personal Advancement and Career Enhancement) as reflected in the expansion of the program to 16 countries with more than 65,000 women participants needs to be highlighted as a sustainability program that moves beyond mere data and numbers to the actual lives of women and their families. The Gap goal of 1,000,000 participants in P.A.C.E. by 2020 reflects the broader reality of true sustainability. The reporting by ICRW, (International Center for Research on Women) documents and verifies the effects of the program, one that other companies would do well to support. 

We look forward to seeing the outcomes from the various collaborative projects in which Gap is engaged. Learnings from each project as well as what is transferable to other geographic locations will strengthen the work. 

Other strong points in the report include the provision of county specific data, as well as the reference to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Gap’s Restricted Substances List (RSL), following AFFIRM Group’s RSL would be stronger with a link from the report to the RSL list on line. 

The next report would be strengthened by the expansion of information and data regarding findings related to various types of unethical recruiting practices, where they are found, how they are addressed and what measures are taken to change the recruitment paradigm from ‘worker-paid fees’ to ‘employer-paid fees’.  In particular, we would recommend that Gap disclose the dollar amount that has been reimbursed to workers, and set goals – and discuss challenges – for ensuring that workers are directly employed by Gap suppliers. When migrant workers are employed by their recruitment firm, it makes them particularly vulnerable to exploitation. 

We also commend Gap for its work to ensure the sustainability of its raw materials and, in particular, its cotton purchases. We would encourage Gap to provide greater specificity around its sustainable cotton sourcing goals, supported by data to allow investors to assess progress. We would also welcome a discussion of how Gap is addressing the human rights of workers at these Tier 3 suppliers. 

Gap did the right thing by voluntarily raising the minimum wage for its workers. We encourage Gap to go a step further by publicly supporting an increase in the federal minimum wage, with future adjustments indexed to inflation. 

We strongly urge Gap to create links to its webpages as progress is made on any and all of the issues described in the report. In that way, the on-going reality of the many aspects of the work will be easier for readers to comprehend. 

We commend Gap for its work and progress and look forward to the next Gap report. 

 

Mr. Adam Kanzer, Managing Director of Corporate Engagement, Domini Impact Investments, LLC

Mr. Mike Lombardo, Vice President, Research, Calvert Research and Management

Dr. Ruth Rosenbaum, Executive Director, Center for Reflection, Education and Action (CREA)

Rev. David Schilling, Senior Program Director, Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility