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Gap Joins Better Cotton Initiative

Gap is furthering its goal of improving cotton farming methods.

The retailer just joined the Better Cotton Initiative (BCI) to improve cotton sourcing for its products, reduce environmental impact and provide aid to individuals involved in its global supply chain.

Last year BCI reached more than one million farmers across 21 nations and five continents, which was 23 percent more engagement since 2014. One and a half million farmers produced more than two million metric tons of Better Cotton, which overall made up 11.9% of global cotton production in 2015. In addition to working with other brands, like Adidas and Gap, BCI also initiated the Better Cotton Fast Track Program (BCFTIP) to train growers about sustainable agriculture.

Earlier this year, Gap sourced 441,000 pounds of Better Cotton, which was enough to produce 250,000 pairs of jeans. Beyond establishing quality garments, Gap also set out to improve water usage and women’s health.

“We strive to ensure that the process of making our clothes is safe for people and communities, and we’re working directly with women to help them gain access to clean, safe water,” Gap said in a statement.

Today, cotton supports the lives of more than 250 million people globally and a majority of these individuals are women. Under BCI, Gap is able to commit to its Women + Water project, which allows the company to build water filtration plants and educate female apparel workers about safe water handling. In the process, Gap’s female workers are able to work in chemical-free facilities and also provide clean water while they cook, clean and take care of their families.

Gap’s membership with BCI impacts in manifold ways. In addition to protecting the environment and improving workers’ health, Gap is able to establish better sourcing practices and set an example for future apparel industry members.