After living at the bleeding edge of corporate and environmental malfeasance for decades, Gap might have actually found itself a conscience – and a strong one at that. According to stories from Glossy and Fashionista, the company’s recent efforts have positioned it as a “frontrunner in transparent and sustainable retail.” Crazy, I know.
As Glossy notes, Athleta — a Gap-owned athletic-wear label — recently received its B Corp Certification, “becoming one of the largest retailers with the distinction that recognizes for-profit companies meeting high standards of social and environmental performance, accountability and transparency.”
Glossy also reports that back in January, “Gap Inc. was the only U.S.-based retailer that made Bloomberg’s inaugural Gender-Equality Index, which analyzed employment statistics, salary rates and policies across ten industries,” and they were one of the first retailers to make its global factory list available to the public, which they did “as part of an accountability measure for worker safety, prompting several competitors to do the same.”
On top of all that, Fashionista is reporting that, last week, the company announced plans to “conserve 10 billion liters of water by the end of 2020,” — which is a figure that “amounts to the daily drinking water needs of five billion people” — “by adapting the way it does business at mills, factories and laundries.”
“To that end,” Fashionista says, “Gap Inc. has implemented a mill sustainability program, monitors wastewater quality at its denim laundries, pioneered a program called Washwell, which reduces the water used in denim washing by 20 percent and partnered with the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Sustainable Apparel Coalition,” while also working to make clean water more accessible to the communities manufacturing their clothing.
So, to recap, Gap Inc., one of the most shamelessly evil companies of the last century, is now holding itself accountable, and prompting others to do the same.
(If this narrative sounds familiar, that’s because it’s basically A Christmas Carol, but with a clothing company in the Scrooge roll.)