Gap Inc. set a goal this week to source 100% of its cotton from more sustainable sources by 2025. The global retailer says its commitment includes sourcing Better Cotton Initiative (BCI) cotton, and cotton that is organic, recycled, and verified American or Australian grown.
By sourcing sustainably farmed and sourced cotton, the company says it is supporting farmers who use water efficiently through better irrigation practices. One pair of jeans uses an average of 1,600 gallons of water throughout its full lifecycle, and of that 64% is used for growing cotton, according to Gap.
The retailer, which owns the Old Navy, Gap, Banana Republic, Athleta, Intermix, Janie and Jack, and Hill City brands, sells clothing, accessories, and personal care products in 90 countries. Previously individual brands set specific commitments: Gap to sourcing 100% of its cotton from more sustainable sources by 2021, Old Navy by 2022, and Banana Republic by 2023.
This new goal establishes a goal for all Gap Inc. brands.
Starting in 2016, the retailer began sourcing Better Cotton through the Better Cotton Initiative (BCI), a nonprofit multi-stakeholder group of organizations working to make global cotton production better for the people who produce it, better for the environment it grows in, and better for the sector’s future. BCI’s 2017 leaderboard, the most recent available, ranked Gap Inc. fourth after H&M, Ikea, and Adidas based on Better Cotton sourcing volume.
The retailer, which had $16.6 billion in net sales for fiscal year 2018, became one of the 43 founding signatories of the UN Climate Change’s Fashion Industry Charter for Climate Action in December. Signatories committed to several climate targets, including an initial one to reduce aggregate greenhouse gas emissions by 30% by 2030.
Gap Inc. chief executive officer Art Peck told Bloomberg last month that the company is planning to debut jeans this year that contain about 5% recycled cotton. Cotton is a water-intensive crop that takes away available land for food so fashion companies need to figure out how to reuse it, he said, according to the outlet.