Banana Republic is a global apparel brand of overarching Gap Inc. The mother corporation states that it’s a mission-driven company that prioritizes sustainability and that its brands are a force for good. But with a revenue of over 16 billion USD and a serious lack of transparency in its reporting for all seven of its brands, this is a very bold statement.
Gap Inc. doesn’t provide any information on its material sourcing. The company states that it’s working on improving the amount of more sustainable materials and fibers in its clothing, but doesn’t provide any relevant data on what it actually uses currently. The same goes for its carbon footprint. The company has not yet measured or published the carbon footprint of its supply chain, which makes it impossible to set a Science Based Reduction target for its full operations. For Gap Inc.’s own operations, which include their 3,345 stores worldwide, it does have a 50% reduction target by 2020 in place, but the company states its not on track to achieve this target.
The first signs of improvement are there though. Gap Inc. is reporting through the Carbon Disclosure Project and has implemented the Higg Index to collect environmental performance data in its supply chain. Tracking and publishing environmental performance in its supply chain is the first step towards reduction of its carbon emissions, energy use and water consumption. The company has also published a list of factories in its supply chain, which offers us insight into where its factories are located. While the company has been connected to severe labor violations in its supply chain in the past, workers’ rights seem to be improving. Gap Inc. is a member of the Ethical Trading Initiative, which monitors its supply chain independently and ensures that the ETI Base Code, including factors like decent wages and working hours, is lived up to. However, there is no proof that an actual living wage is being paid.
Animal welfare is not being ensured either. The information Gap Inc. provides in its animal welfare policy and sustainability report offers little to no data on the actual origins of the materials the company uses in its clothing, which leaves us to conclude it largely uses animal materials from uncertified sources.