Gap Outlines Five-Year Goal for Sustainable Fibers Use

By the year 2021, Gap Inc. wants its Gap brand to be getting all its cotton from more sustainable sources.

For its Athleta activewear brand, it wants the label to source 80 percent of its technical fabrics from sustainable fibers.

“We believe in actively protecting the planet we all share,” said Wendi Goldman, Gap’s chief product officer, who serves on the Gap Foundation Board of Trustees and Gap Inc.’s Sustainability Board. “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.”

To achieve its goal, the San Francisco–based Gap will continue to partner with the 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. Cotton is a water-intensive crop.

For Spring 2017, the Gap brand sourced 3.8 million pounds of Better Cotton. Gap also plans to use other sustainable cotton such as organic, recycled and American-grown.

Over the past two years, Athleta has been working to increase its use of sustainable materials by converting materials to recycled synthetics and organic cotton. They are then made into fabrics for many of Athleta’s signature styles.

In 2016, 7 million plastic water bottles were diverted from landfills because of Athleta’s use of recycled polyester.

The brand hopes to meet its 2020 goal by partnering with fiber and manufacturing suppliers on innovative solutions. It also plans to use more efficient fabric dyeing and finishing techniques to save water as well as reduce waste at the brand’s stores and headquarters.

Gap Inc., which is a $15.5 billion enterprise, has also committed to reducing its environmental footprint across its supply chain.

By the end of 2020, Gap has committed to a 50 percent reduction in greenhouse-gas emissions in its owned and operated facilities worldwide from a 2015 baseline and to divert 80 percent of its waste in the United States.