26 Jun

How Ethical Is Gap?

Founded in 1969 in California, fast-fashion giant Gap Inc has 4,000 stores worldwide. Over the decades Gap has built its name as a household favourite and go-to for fashionable and affordable clothing. But how ethical is Gap when it comes to its policies on labour rights, environmental sustainability, and animal welfare?

Labour rating: It’s A Start

Gap received a B-’ in the 2017 Ethical Fashion Report, showing some improvement on its C+’ rating in 2016, which is definitely commendable. The report looks at criteria including payment of a living wage, transparency and worker empowerment initiatives. Gap was given the top score for the Supplier Code of Conduct which it includes in its supplier contracts.

Gap also traces most of its supply chain and publicly lists some of its suppliers. Unfortunately, Gap only audits some of its traced facilities over a two-year period and its worker empowerment initiatives are minimal. There’s still plenty of room for improvement here, Gap.

Environmental rating: It’s A Start

Gap is a member of the Sustainable Apparel Coalition and uses the Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Protocol to guide measurement and reporting on its carbon emissions. The brand has also made a public commitment to reduce its carbon emissions by 50% by 2020. It’s also good to see that Gap is taking steps to comply with its Restricted Substances List by 2020, but so far it has taken no actions to eliminate the environmental pollution of chromium and other chemicals from leather tanning processes.

Animal Welfare Rating: It’s A Start

Gap has stated that it only uses wool from non-mulesed sheep, and does not use angora or exotic animal skin or hair. Unfortunately, it does use down feather without any accreditations, and uses leather without stating its sources. This means we can’t be sure about the welfare of the animals or workers involved in the production process.

Overall Rating: It's A Start

Rated: It's A Start

We’ve rated Gap Inc. ‘It’s A Start’ based on information from the 2017 Ethical Fashion Report and our own research. Though Gap has some promising environmental measures in place and has improved some of its labor policies over the past year, it still needs to make changes in all areas, especially when it comes to paying a living wage to its workers. The good news? There are plenty of brands that are not only reliable and on-trend but are committed to reducing their impact on the environment, minimising harm to animals, and supporting the people that make their clothes.

Editor's note: Ratings correct at time of publication. Good On You did not receive compensation for mentioning the brands listed in this article. This post expands on our article '6 Ethical Alternatives to Gap' by Fiona Mcvite. Feature image via GAP. Images via the brands.

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