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Gap Inc. increases commitment to sustainable cotton

By Danielle Wightman-Stone

Dec 9, 2020

Gap Inc. has committed to using only 100 percent sustainably-sourced cotton by 2025 across its brands Gap, Old Navy, Banana Republic and Athleta.

To assist it with its goal, Gap Inc has joined both the US Cotton Trust Protocol, which helps companies to source sustainable cotton by tracking it throughout the supply chain, as well as the Textile Exchange’s 2025 Sustainable Cotton Challenge.

The move to strengthen its commitment to 100 percent sustainable cotton is part of the retail group’s integrated sustainability strategy. The retailer first began sourcing from more sustainably-grown cotton programmes in 2016 and within just three years 57 percent of the cotton in its products came from these sources.

It has joined the US Cotton Trust Protocol and the 2025 Sustainable Cotton Challenge to help enable it to bridge the remaining 43 percent to use 100 percent sustainably-sourced cotton by 2025.

Alice Hartley, director of product sustainability for Gap Inc., said in a statement: “Continuous improvement is important to Gap Inc., which is why we have decided to begin sourcing more sustainable fibre through the US Cotton Trust Protocol. As part of our commitment to address climate change by aligning with the best science and industry practices, we have ambitious targets across metrics to lower carbon emissions and preserve precious natural resources like water.

“As an American company with purpose-led brands committed to sustainability, joining the US Cotton Trust Protocol makes perfect sense. With two-thirds of US cotton not using any irrigation at all, this allows us to further our commitment to sustainable cotton and enables us to support US cotton growers.”

Gap joins both US Cotton Trust Protocol and Textile Exchange’s 2025 Sustainable Cotton Challenge to strengthen its commitment to sustainable cotton

The Trust Protocol will help Gap Inc. meet this goal by providing verified data on the sustainability practices used on US cotton farms. Participating cotton growers will benefit from data-driven insights and best practices from across the industry, as well as a stronger connection to brands asking for sustainably-grown cotton.

Dr Gary Adams, president of the US Cotton Trust Protocol, added: “Gap Inc.’s brands are in every household, including my own, and I am personally honoured it has chosen to work with us because it’s a global company that takes sustainability seriously.

“Gap Inc. has made significant strides since setting sustainability goals, and the Trust Protocol’s farm-level data will help it in its mission to improve its impact and protect our natural resources. By signing on to the Trust Protocol, Gap Inc. will support our shared mission to educate US growers around the most sustainable growing practices and support grower enrolment.”

The Trust Protocol opened for membership in October 2020 and provides brands and retailers with the critical assurance they need to prove that the cotton in their supply chain is more responsibly grown. The organisation verifies sustainability progress and allows member brands, such as Gap Inc. access to aggregate year-over-year data in six areas: water use; greenhouse gas emissions; energy use; soil carbon, soil loss and land-use efficiency.

In addition, the retail group has also signed up to the Textile Exchange 2025 Sustainable Cotton Challenge, which calls for more than 50 percent of the world’s cotton to be converted to more sustainable growing methods. Brands and retailers joining the challenge and committing to source more sustainable cotton can choose from Textile Exchange’s list of recognised organic and sustainable cotton initiatives, which helps to increase the income of smallholder farmers, eliminate highly hazardous pesticides, eliminate or reduce the amount of pesticides and synthetic fertiliser used, reduce water use and improve water quality and soil health. The US Cotton Trust Protocol was recognised as one of the initiatives in April 2020.

Image: Manfred Rose / pixelio.de