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Friday
Apr182014

Clean water for all 

Around the world, women and girls spend 200 million hours collecting water each day.  That’s enough time to build 28 Empire State Buildings.  Every day. 

The roughly 1 billion people living in slums around the world often pay 5-10 times more for water than those in the U.S. and other advanced economies.  And did you know that 3.5 million people die each year from water-related illness?  That’s more than four times the population of San Francisco.

From drought-stricken California to the developing countries where our clothes are made, water is absolutely critical to our daily lives and livelihoods.  That’s why Gap Inc. is doing more to help address some of these challenges.

Everyone deserves access to clean and safe water. So we are working to help ensure the women who work in the factories that make our clothes have the support they need to access healthy water sources. To achieve this goal, we plan to build on the foundation of the Gap Inc. P.A.C.E. program, which teaches women factory workers life and work skills, and has already helped more than 25,000 women across seven countries. Our efforts will help workers and their families live healthier, more productive lives.

Of course none of this matters much if the water isn’t available in the first place.

Environmental experts predict global demand for water could exceed supply by 40 percent within the next two decades.  Through partners like the Sustainable Apparel Coalition, we are also working with factories to reduce the amount of water they use to manufacture our products.  And through our Water Quality Program, the denim laundries that wash our jeans are treating the water they discharge to help protect the quality of water in those communities.

We’re exploring even more water conservation and management opportunities in the communities where we live and work. We look forward to sharing more as our programs continue to develop and expand.  Please let us know your thoughts in the comments below. 

Thursday
Apr172014

ICYMI: Highlights from the @GapInc Investor Day

On April 16, we hosted our annual Investor Day, where Gap Inc. leaders outlined our advances in omni-channel retailing, global growth and supply chain. We live-tweeted the event, and in case you missed it, here's a recap.

 

 

 

Wednesday
Apr162014

Our mission comes to life

Every day, we’re taking more steps toward achieving our mission to be the world’s favorite for American style. Here’s a look at some of our latest global growth and omni-channel achievements.

This video was shown at our 2014 Investor Day. Learn more about the event.

Monday
Apr142014

Helping garment workers

By Sasha Radovich, Social & Environmental Responsibility

It had been four years since I last set foot in Dhaka. 

I used to fly to Bangladesh every few months in my former role, working alongside key organizations to improve business practices within the garment industry.   Today I’m doing the same kind of work as a Gap Inc. employee.  

I recently returned to participate in the first-ever fire and building safety expo in the country’s history.  I saw first-hand how Gap Inc.’s own fire and structural safety efforts are impacting every factory we work with in Bangladesh and it left me feeling hopeful like never before.

Everyone who has worked in Bangladesh knows that it is challenging. Despite the garment industry’s significant growth here, the government has made little investment in raising and enforcing factory standards.  Social unrest is common, particularly among factory workers. The impact of poverty on people’s health and lack of education is startling. And the complexities of doing business in a country that has frequent disruptions due to strikes and port closures is, to say the least, difficult.

Yet the livelihood of more than two million workers in Bangladesh, most of whom are women, depends on its garment industry. 

Gap Inc. launched its 4-point fire and building safety program in 2012. But we knew our impact needed to extend beyond the factories we worked with.  It’s why we played an integral role in founding the Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety following the 2013 Rana Plaza factory collapse. That tragedy underscored the need for all global retailers to take action to improve the lives of these workers; regardless of the fact that Gap Inc. did not make clothes there.  Along with the Alliance’s 25 North American apparel companies, we are working to implement new standards across the industry to build sustainable changes. 

Nearly every one of the factories we work with has made significant progress, including simple yet life-saving changes like adding hand-rails on staircases and fire detection systems. We’re also seeing bigger investments across the board, such as purchasing and importing fire safety doors and sprinkler systems. 

I’m optimistic that our efforts will have a long-lasting impact on garment workers here. And, I am proud to be a part of this progress. 

 

Wednesday
Apr092014

Gap recycled materials debut on stage, not in landfills 

Next time you’re at an off-Broadway theater production in New York, look a little more closely at the stage costumes — you might see fabric that once belonged to Gap.

For the past 20 years, we have been donating all kinds of material — fabric, trim, paper, frames — to a non-profit called Materials for the Arts. These supplies go to more than 4,000 arts organizations, public schools and city agencies throughout New York City.

For example, a piece of foam core we used to create a storyboard (an integral part of our product creation cycle) might debut in a classroom as part of an art project or game. A bolt of fabric might make its way to the theater stage as a costume or even a puppet.  Used cloth becomes part of a fashion-design student’s newest project. The possibilities are endless.

This has allowed Gap to divert 29,814 pounds of materials from the landfill in the last three years alone. It’s our way to keep art and fashion moving forward in the community, while also protecting the environment.

Whether it’s through our office moves or general spring cleaning at our 55 Thomas location in New York, we all know that these materials have a second life cycle. As we continue on our path to be the world’s favorite for American style, we also push toward sustainable style — because it’s the right thing to do.  

In April, to celebrate Earth Month, we’ll be sharing more about the creative ways we’re working to protect the environment.

If you are in the New York area and are interested in the donated materials, contact Materials for the Arts.

(Photo Credit: Materials for the Arts)