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?

Environmental Impact:

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.

Labour Conditions:

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.

Animal Welfare:

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 our own research. Though Gap has some promising environmental measures in place and has improved some of its labour policies, 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: Feature image via GAP. All other images via brands mentioned. Good On You has big plans for ethical fashion in 2019! To support our work, we may earn a commission on sales made using our offers code or affiliate links. This post was updated in August 2019.

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