In the spirit of Earth Day on Saturday, the Gap and Athleta divisions of Gap Inc. have made a commitment to incorporate a greater amount of sustainable fibers in their apparel production.
Gap plans to obtain 100 percent of its cotton from more sustainable sources by 2021, while Athleta, whose assortment predominantly features technical fabrics, said that by 2020, 80 percent of its apparel materials will be made with sustainable fibers.
“We believe in actively protecting the planet we all share,” said Wendi Goldman, Gap’s chief product officer. “With our new sustainable cotton goal, we have the opportunity to make a big impact on the global cotton community, and bring to light what’s so incredibly important to the future of garment manufacturing, what matters to us as a brand, and what matters to our customers.”
Gap will continue to partner with Better Cotton Initiative, which works with farmers around the world to improve cotton production for the people who cultivate it, the environment and the cotton sector’s future. Gap said it sourced 3.8 million pounds of Better Cotton for spring 2017 product. Gap’s new commitment will include other sustainable cotton such as organic, recycled and American-grown.
The retailer, under its “Gap for Good” initiative for more sustainable fashion, seeks to save water and reduce energy consumption. The initiative also involves educating and empowering women through Gap Inc.’s Personal Advancement & Career Enhancement program.
“For Athleta and our community, the earth is our playground, and we believe it’s vitally important to protect it for the next generation,” said Nancy Green, president and chief executive officer of Athleta and also a member of the Gap foundation and sustainability board of trustees. “With the use of more recycled and sustainable fibers, we’re working to lessen our impact on the environment and preserve the Earth’s precious natural resources. Using our business for good is central to the mission of Athleta.”
Athleta has been using more sustainable materials over the last two years by converting materials to recycled synthetics, organic cotton and using more efficient fabric dyeing and finishing techniques, the company said. In 2016, seven million plastic water bottles were diverted from the landfill as a result of Athleta’s use of recycled polyester, the company said. Athleta is also reducing waste at its stores and headquarters.
Collectively since 2016, Gap, Banana Republic, Old Navy and Athleta have sourced more than 11.5 million pounds of Better Cotton, which the corporation said is enough to make 7.4 million pairs of jeans.
In other sustainability goals, by the end of 2020, the $15.5 billion Gap Inc. has committed to a 50 percent absolute reduction of greenhouse gas emissions in its owned and operated facilities globally from a 2015 baseline, and to divert 80 percent of its waste in the U.S. Since 2014, Gap Inc.’s suppliers have saved more than 750 million liters of water which Gap equated to providing every person in the U.S. with one days’ worth of drinking water.