Gap Inc. may be on the cusp of becoming two independently public traded companies, but Old Navy and the yet-to-be-named company that will consist of the Gap brand, Athleta, Banana Republic, Intermix and Hill City, share the same mission for sustainability. Gap Inc. announced on Earth Day new plans to accelerate sustainable product innovation for Old Navy and Banana Republic, including adopting more eco-friendly processes for denim.
The commitments build upon many of the goals set in 2017 by the Gap and Athleta brands, and address water usage, cleaner chemistry and the sourcing of sustainable cotton or cotton-alternative fibers.
With Old Navy selling 27,000 Rockstar skinny jeans a day alone, positioning sustainable goals around denim, water and cotton is significant for scale.
By 2022, Old Navy stated that it aims to produce 100 percent of its denim products with techniques that save water, including proven wash processes like Washwell. The technique, which was used for 60 percent of Old Navy’s Spring ’19 denim range, reduces water usage by 20 percent or more in the product’s garment wash stage compared to conventional techniques.
Gap introduced Washwell into its production in 2016.
Additionally, Old Navy is partnering with the Better Cotton Initiative (BCI) in a move to source 100 percent of its cotton from more sustainable sources. BCI promotes the use of better irrigation practices with farmers and reduces the use of fertilizers, and in some cases, reduces water usage up to 50 percent.
Old Navy’s sustainable goals are packaged in a new consumer-facing platform called Heart Earth, which will share the company’s journey towards the goals and share tips on how consumers can adopt sustainable habits in their own homes and daily lives.
“At Old Navy, we believe every one of us has the power to make a difference, and we owe it to future generations to leave our planet better than we found it,” said Jamie Gersch, Old Navy CMO. “But, our work to ensure the world runs right is never done, and we want to bring our customers along on our journey.”
Under the new sustainability commitments, Banana Republic will begin to use Washwell in its denim production. The company will also utilize more sustainable dye methods, such as foam dye, eco-friendly finishes like bio-softeners and laser technology, and trims made out of recycled materials.
“Sustainability is important to our brand, to our environment and to our customer,” said Mark Breitbard, Banana Republic president and CEO. “Banana Republic is committed to using production techniques that will save and preserve water quality while creating versatile and more sustainable fabrics that our consumers have come to know and love.”
Beyond denim, Banana Republic aims to make 50 percent of all products with techniques that save at least 20 percent of water by 2025. The brand will also focus on using cleaner chemistry in the supply chain, leveraging Gap Inc.’s Zero Discharge of Hazardous Chemicals (ZDHC) commitment and ongoing efforts to select more preferred chemistry options in Banana Republic’s products.
In addition to partnering with BCI to source sustainable cotton, Banana Republic pledges to work with Canopy-compliant suppliers to source preferred man-made cellulosics, linen and recycled polyester, and source recycled and responsible wool from companies compliant under the Responsible Wool Standard.