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Old Navy, the popular fashion retailer known for its affordable and trendy clothing, has gained widespread recognition for its basics. But when it comes to ethics, how does Old Navy measure up? How ethical is Old Navy? Here we dive into the brand’s “It’s a Start” rating, which was published in September 2022 and may not reflect claims the brand has made since then. Our ratings analysts are constantly rerating the thousands of brands you can check on our directory.
A more affordable version of Gap, but at what cost?
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 people, the planet, and animals. How ethical is Old Navy?
Old Navy uses some lower-impact materials, including recycled materials, and demonstrates leadership in managing water use in its supply chain, by implementing water reduction initiatives, which we commend.
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. Plus, it doesn’t appear to minimise textile waste when manufacturing its products.
For these reasons, we rate Old Navy “It’s a Start” for its environmental impact
Unfortunately, in 2021 Old Navy’s labour rating went down from “It’s a Start” to “Not Good Enough” and has not improved since then. This can be explained by the fact that none of Old Navy’s supply chain is certified by labour standards that ensure worker health and safety 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.
On a more positive note, Old Navy’s animal rating went up from “Not Good Enough” to “It’s a Start”. The brand has a general statement about minimising animal suffering but not a formal animal welfare policy. And while it doesn’t use leather, fur, angora, down, exotic animal hair, or exotic animal skin, it still uses wool (with no evidence it traces any animal products to the first stage of production).
Overall rating: It’s a Start
So, how ethical is Old Navy? Based on our research, we rate Old Navy “It’s a Start”.
The brand has a mixed track record: while it does use some lower-impact materials, which is good, it must intensify its efforts to minimise its impact on people and animals. The brand should start by making sure its workers are treated fairly and are paid a living wage, and trace its wool sourcing, ensuring it is mulesing-free.
Note that Good On You ratings consider hundreds 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.
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