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?
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.
Gap has made a start on improving labour conditions, based on the 2018 Ethical Fashion Report. 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.
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.