How Ethical Is Old Navy? - Good On You
17 Mar

How Ethical Is Old Navy?

Founded in 1994, Old Navy is an American fashion company owned by Gap Inc. The brand, named after a bar in Paris, prides itself on being a less expensive version of Gap, offering “fashion essentials” for all the family. It’s become one of the largest brands in the world, with more than 1000 stores. But with “prices you can’t believe”, we can’t help but wonder how the brand impacts on the environment, people, and animals. How ethical is Old Navy?

Environmental Impact

Old Navy uses some eco-friendly materials including recycled materials and has received an ‘A’ in the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) water security questionnaire. The American brand demonstrates leadership in managing water use in its supply chain, which we love!

But while Old Navy has set a science-based target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions generated from its own operations and supply chain, we found no evidence it is on track to meet its target.

For these reasons we rated its environmental impact ‘It’s A Start’.

Labour Conditions

Unfortunately, Old Navy’s labour rating went down from ‘It’s A Start’ to ‘Not Good Enough’. This can be explained by the fact that none of Old Navy’s supply chain is certified by labour standards which ensure worker health and safety, living wages, or other labour rights. In addition to this, the brand has made little progress towards ensuring payment of a living wage in its supply chain or disclosing adequate policies to protect suppliers and workers in its supply chain from the impacts of COVID-19.

The brand also received a score of 41-50% in the Fashion Transparency Index. The brand published a detailed list of suppliers in the final stage of production and some information about the second stage of production. It likely publishes information about its supplier policies, audits, remediation processes, as well as information about forced labour, gender equality or freedom of association.

Animal Welfare

Old Navy’s animal rating also went down to ‘Not Good Enough’. It has a basic formal policy to protect animal welfare, but it still uses leather, wool, and exotic animal hair. The good news is that Old Navy does not use fur, angora, down, or exotic animal skin.

Overall Rating: It’s A Start

So, how ethical is Old Navy? Based on information from our own research, Old Navy is rated ‘It’s A Start’. In order to get a better rating, the brand needs to improve its environmental policies by tracking its progress towards reducing greenhouse gas emissions, paying a living wage, and protecting its workers from the impacts of COVID-19. The American brand should also use less animal-based materials, especially leather and exotic animal hair.

Note that Good On You ratings consider 100s of issues and it is not possible to list every relevant issue in a summary of the brand’s performance. For more information see our How We Rate page and our FAQs.

See the rating.

 

Luckily, we’ve found some ‘Good’ and ‘Great’ alternatives to Old Navy!

Good Swaps

Sustainable alternatives to Old Navy

Whimsy + Row

Rated: Good

Whimsy + Row is an eco-conscious lifestyle brand born out of a love for quality goods and sustainable practices. Since 2014, its mission has been to provide ease and elegance for the modern, sustainable woman. Whimsy + Row utilises deadstock fabric, and by limiting each garment to short runs, the brand also reduces packaging waste and takes care of precious water resources. Find most products in XS-XL.

See the rating.

Shop Whimsy + Row.

Shop Whimsy + Row @ Earthkind.

Kotn

Rated: Good
man wearing striped ethical shirt by Kotn

Certified B Corp Kotn is based in Canada and works with local NGOs on the ground at the Nile Delta to provide every child in their farming communities with quality education, and to help close the gap of low literacy rates amongst communities. With every purchase, not only will you adorn a beautifully made shirt, but also help fund school infrastructure, materials, and salaries for teachers. Find Kotn in sizes XS-2XL.

See the rating.

Shop Kotn.

PACT

Rated: Great

PACT is a U-based brand that is passionate about being part of a movement transforming the way apparel is made. All of its clothing is sweatshop-free and child-labour-free, and its activewear range is almost entirely made from certified organic cotton, with more than 50% also certified as Fair Trade. Find PACT in sizes XS-2XL.

See the rating.

Shop PACT.

MATE the Label

Rated: Great

MATE the Label creates clean essentials made with GOTS certified organic fabrics and low-impact dyes. Its goal is to offer women everywhere a clean product that is just as beautiful as it is sustainable. It is proudly female-founded and is predominately operated by women. This US brand also manufactures locally to reduce its carbon footprint. Find the range in inclusive sizes XS-3XL.

See the rating.

Shop MATE the Label.

Fair Indigo

Rated: Good

Fair Indigo is a US-based ethical brand that creates sustainable clothing not only for the planet, but for the human beings involved in your clothing's journey from the cotton farms to your closet. Instead of racing to the bottom, it is aspiring to the top. Its premium-quality organic clothing collections are available in sizes XS to 2XL.

See the rating.

Shop Fair Indigo.

Jamie + The Jones

Rated: Good

This Nashville based label believes in creating beautiful pieces you’ll want to live in while supporting cherished textile traditions. All of its garments (excluding its J+J Organic Knits) are designed, produced, and packaged in a Nashville studio and delivered to your door! Its quality crafted pieces have you covered from sizes XS to 4XL that embody beautiful silhouettes and cuts.

See the rating.

Shop Jamie + The Jones.

We love these sustainable brands listed above, but they may not meet your specific needs right now. Maybe they’re out of your price range, or don’t stock your size. If you really need something and a product from Old Navy is the best option, then you shouldn’t feel guilty about buying it! ‘It’s A Start’ means just that—the brand is making a start. If your options are Old Navy or a brand like SHEIN that is making little to no effort for people, the planet, and animals, Old Navy is a clear winner. Progress over perfection!

You can also reach out to brands who you think need a little nudge in the right direction. If enough customers demand change, brands that truly care about their impact will have no choice but to respond in kind. Check out the ‘Your Voice’ function on the app or slide into their DMs on social media to let them know what you think.

Editor's note

Feature image via Old Navy, all other images via brands mentioned. Good On You publishes the world’s most comprehensive ratings of fashion brands’ impact on people, the planet and animals. Use our Directory to search more than 3,000 brands. We may earn a commission on sales made using our offer codes or affiliate links.

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