Product Sustainability Great product designed with sustainability in mind
We aim to design great products with sustainability in mind and collaborate across our business and throughout our industry to develop strategies to improve the performance of our brands and the apparel sector as a whole.
We are committed to pursuing technology and product innovation, allowing us to continually deliver great products that look good, delight our customers wear after wear and reduce our impact on people and the planet. We approach sustainability throughout the produce life cycle, examining the materials they source, the products they design and the suppliers they work with. Each brand takes ownership of its sustainability journey and uses its unique brand voice to communicate directly with customers on the importance and impact of producing responsibly. Together with our brands, Gap Inc. is making our efforts toward developing more sustainable products accessible and visible to our customers.
We educate our brand teams about how to design using more sustainable fibers, fabrics and manufacturing techniques that save water—and how to procure more responsible materials.
In addition to our work within our company, we continue to leverage our relationships with peers, partners and stakeholder groups, including the Sustainable Apparel Coalition, Textile Exchange, MADE-BY, the Better Cotton Initiative (BCI), the Hong Kong Research Institute of Textiles and Apparel, Fashion Positive, the Global Fashion Agenda, Zero Discharge of Hazardous Chemicals (ZDHC) and the Ellen MacArthur Foundation. With these partnerships, we’re able to scale up work through our global supply chain and support our brands in setting their own sustainability goals.
Our Brands' Sustainability Commitments
For every brand within Gap Inc., sustainability is a business priority and a critical way to express each brand’s values. We have been able to apply sustainability lessons, best practices, strategies and technologies across our portfolio of brands to make a larger impact.
By 2018, all of our brands had established executive sustainability steering committees, defined their own priorities and goals, and led sustainability-strategy workshops with cross-functional teams.
In 2019, all of our brands enhanced their dedication through new goals and expanded efforts to embed sustainability into product design and raw-materials selection. In doing this, our brands are strengthening their ownership of sustainability as a unique expression of their brand value to their customers.
Old Navy’s Heart Earth targets, established in April 2019, focus on two areas of critical importance to the brand and Gap Inc.: Old Navy is helping to improve and scale water-saving efforts and sustainable-cotton sourcing, and it is working to educate customers on the importance of more sustainable apparel production and waste reduction.
In 2019, Old Navy committed to recycling hangers from 500 stores, diverting 124,000 pounds of hangers from landfill. The brand is also updating its packaging standards, with an aim to reduce more than 40,000 pounds of plastic annually. Old Navy’s Heart Earth campaign celebrates these achievements and highlights the importance of everyday sustainable choices for its customers.
- By 2022, source 100% of cotton from more sustainable sources.
- By 2022, make 100% of denim products using water-saving techniques.
In 2017, Gap brand launched its Gap for Good platform, which includes online information about the brand’s commitment to sustainability including but not limited to water initiatives and stories about women’s empowerment. Gap trains store employees to speak about Gap for Good's core programs and communicates to customers through a variety of channels. In 2019, Gap brand introduced Bettermade Denim, and along with Banana Republic and Old Navy, launched recycled cotton in 30 holiday styles, using at least 5 percent post-consumer-waste recycled cotton in denim.
Washwell™: Since 2016, when Gap brand debuted Washwell™ – a denim wash program that conserves water in the laundry stage of production – the process is now used across all of our brands, and has contributed more than a billion liters of water savings. In 2019, 24 Gap brand vendors participated in Washwell™ resulting in 113 million liters of water saved.
- By 2021, source 100% of cotton from more sustainable sources.
- By 2021, make 75% of qualifying products using Washwell™ water-savings techniques.
As a brand, Banana Republic is committed to creating timeless clothes that are designed with quality and durability in mind. In honor of Earth Day 2020, the brand introduced Better Republic, a forward-thinking ideal that underscores the brand’s sustainability goals and commitment to do better for people and the planet by integrating sustainability into design and manufacturing decisions.
In support of its sustainability commitments, Banana Republic partners with the Spanish denim mill Tejidos Royo to use an innovative dyeing technique, Dry Indigo®. This process reduces water use by up to 99% (requiring just one teaspoon of water per pair of jeans), uses 89% less chemicals, and reduces energy consumption by 65%. The first products from this technology launched in stores and online in spring 2019.
- By 2023, source 100% of cotton from more sustainable sources.
- By 2023, make 50% of products with more sustainable fibers.
- By 2025, make 50% of products using water-saving techniques and cleaner chemistry practices in our supply chain.
- By 2023, make more eco-friendly denim.
Athleta has a strong commitment to environmentally conscious products and sustainable practices. The brand believes in protecting the Earth as a natural playground, positively contributing to the direction of the apparel industry, offering customers responsible options and driving demand for sustainable goods, and supporting the potential of women and girls. Athleta actively engages customers in its sustainability story, using prominent messaging in stores and catalogs and widely promoting the brand’s core values and progress toward its 2020 sustainability goals. One its recent campaigns, Power of She—which features track-and-field legend Allyson Felix as the brand’s first-ever sponsored athlete—focuses on building confidence in women and girls and encouraging them to use their voices. Felix also partners with Athleta in the design of high-performance products.
- By 2020, 80% of Athleta materials will be made with sustainable fibers.
- By 2020, 25% of Athleta’s products will be made using techniques that save water.
- By 2020, divert 80% of store waste from landfill.
- By 2020, impact 10,000 women through P.A.C.E. and Fair Trade.
Athleta was certified as a B Corp in 2018, joining responsible brands worldwide in revising its corporate charter to include social and environmental commitments. B Corps, awarded by the nonprofit B Lab, meet rigorous standards of social and environmental performance, accountability and transparency. With this accreditation, Gap Inc. has become one of the largest publicly traded retail companies with a B Corp certified subsidiary apparel brand. We plan to learn from Athleta as a case study for Gap Inc., providing a benchmark and roadmap of potential opportunities for greater social and environmental impact across the enterprise.
Intermix has taken a leadership role in sustainability within the multi-brand contemporary market, with a mission to educate its more than 300 brand partners on sourcing more sustainably, reducing single-use plastic in packaging and demonstrating how contemporary fashion can be sourced with more sustainable raw materials through its private-label brand.
Together with the Gap Inc. Global Sustainability team, Intermix hosted its first Sustainability Summit in 2019 with its New York-based top brands. At the summit, Intermix established its commitment to become more sustainable and held a workshop on the first steps that brands can take to source more responsibly. Intermix is working to reduce the number of garments shipped on plastic hangers, source a cardboard hanger to replace existing plastic hangers, and convert fabrics and yarns used in its private-label line, Intermix Collection, to more sustainable options. Intermix has an internal “Green Team” of volunteer employees who champion and operationalize its sustainability goals.