The Gap: Environmental Audit

It is near impossible to gather a transparent image of what is actually and currently happening throughout a Gap Inc. product’s life cycle, from inception (material sourcing and manufacturing) to culmination (after usage). The Gap Inc. has been involved in a multitude of scandals, including the infamous Rana Plaza garment factory collapse in Bangladesh.

An average T-shirt requires 715 gallons of water to process; most of which ends up polluted and in local water sources in South Asia. Gap Inc. has been known to be involved with textile facilities that directly dump hazardous substances such as chemicals, salts, and heavy metals into rivers. These substances are harmful to humans, wildlife and the environment, which has resulted in the destruction of local farmlands, make potable water toxic and put locals at risk for serious illness. The textile industry as a whole is the second largest polluter of clean water.

The Gap has made promises of alternations in their offices and stores to reduce environmental impact, such as:

– Establishing recycling infrastructure and ‘energy efficiency priorities’ in stores and malls
– Recycling and composting at the San Francisco HQ
– Implementing paperless pay stubs
– Exploring ‘potential’ for LED lighting in stores

The Gap is considered ‘fast-fashion’ thus putting pressure on consumers to be constantly purchasing from the newest collection and retiring items purchased only a few months prior. The Gap has implemented a few temporary initiatives to recycle worn clothing but outside of this most clothing ends in landfill.

Gap has committed to lowering green house gas emissions, eliminating all hazardous chemicals from the entire lifecycle and achieving 0 liquid discharged from supplier factories. Considering the size and profit of Gap Inc. it can be concluded that they are not making sufficient efforts towards sustainable production.

(Post by Alison Serjeant)

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