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Gap Inc. CEO Outlines Path to Becoming ‘Most Inclusive Company in the World’

Hoping that its Power Plan 2023 strategy steers it back in the right direction, Gap Inc. CEO Sonia Syngal believes that the future hinges on the fact that the business “can and should be a force for good.”

At the clothing company’s annual shareholders meeting, Syngal reiterated the company’s commitment to environmental social and governance (ESG) provenance while highlighting its sustainability efforts.

On the path to becoming what Syngal calls “the most inclusive company in the world,” Gap Inc. created an action plan in 2020 focused on three areas: employee belonging, customer belonging and community belonging, with commitments in each area set for 2025.

“We’re working harder than ever to make our business more sustainable, by setting bold goals, designing new programs and partnering with others to change our industries for the better,” Syngal said. “Along with our employees, we are committed to fostering a culture of belonging, besides Gap Inc. and beyond our walls, because our journey towards full equality and inclusivity is never quite complete.”

In June, the retailer will release its first annual progress report on this work.

Earlier this month, Gap unveiled that it was a founding member of the Second Chance Business Coalition (SCBC) through its partnership with the Business Roundtable. Alongside Walmart, The Home Depot, Verizon and PepsiCo, among others, the San Francisco will help lower barriers to employment for people with a criminal record and support its inclusive workforce strategy.

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The retailer also has partnered with Harlem’s Fashion Row with its “Closing the Gap” initiative, offering financial awards to fashion departments at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). Gap, Inc. is contributing $510,000 to the initiative, which will be distributed across 21 awards ranging from $10,000 to $100,000, providing a platform designed to empower Black students to propel their studies and drive innovation within the fashion industry.

In the presentation, Syngal also highlighted that 800,000 women and girls have completed its Personal Advancement and Career Enhancement (P.A.C.E.) program since it was founded in 2007. P.A.C.E. was developed to give women the foundational life skills, technical training and support that will help them advance in the workplace and in their personal lives.

“Through our business practices and the influence of our brand, we are unleashing the power of inclusion to change lives in the world for the better today and for future generations,” Syngal said. “Building on our legacy of empowerment programs for women and young people entering the job force and elevating those who make our business possible, we are focused on enabling equality and access to opportunity.”

Environmentally, Gap has saved 11.2 billion liters of water in the manufacturing process since 207, and has a 65 percent diversion rate of plastic waste across its stores and distribution centers.

The retailer purchases 99 megawatts of power annually from the 299-megawatt Aurora wind farm in North Dakota developed by Enel Green Power. The wind energy supplied to Gap Inc. under the agreement is enough to power over 1,500 Gap Inc. retail stores.

Beyond Gap Inc.’s ESG and sustainability milestones, the company also voted on five proposals.

Via shareholder votes, Gap confirmed the election of its 13-member board of directors, and ratified the selection of Deloitte & Touche LLP as its independent registered public accounting firm for the fiscal year ending Jan. 29, 2022.

Of the board, which includes Syngal, six of the 13 directors are women. The directors will serve until the next annual meeting. Deloitte & Touche (or its predecessor firm) has been retained as Gap, Inc.’s independent accounting firm since 1976.

Additionally, the shareholders approved the overall compensation of Gap Inc.’s executive officers, and approved the amendment and restatement of both the company’s employee stock purchase plan and its 2016 long-term incentive plan.