CEO letter


In 2004, Gap Inc. issued our first Social Responsibility report.

We have approached each report in the same way – a candid, open assessment of our progress as a company and as a collaborative partner to address the complex issues of operating a global business in a responsible, ethical way.

I am proud of our achievements as a business, and I’m equally proud of how we do business. At Gap Inc., we are deeply committed to social and environmental responsibility, and to ensuring that each day, we live up to the values on which the company was founded in 1969. That’s why this report is so meaningful to me and to our company’s more than 135,000 employees.

In the two years since our last Social & Environmental Responsibility Report, Gap Inc. has made great strides in our mission to “be the world’s favorite for American style.”

Our portfolio of brands now includes Gap, Banana Republic, Old Navy, Athleta, Piperlime, and our newest brand, Intermix. With stores in about 50 countries, we expanded our presence in China, opened Athleta stores throughout the U.S., launched Old Navy in Japan, its first location outside North America, and introduced Gap to South America. With each step we take to expand our business, we ensure that our social and environmental policies and our cultural heritage of community investment and support are integrated into each store and country.

Wherever they’re located, our brands, stores and employees around the world are bound together by our promise, as voiced by our co-founder, Don Fisher, to “do more than sell clothes.”

Our employees embrace our philanthropic heritage by investing their time and contributions in our communities. In 2012, more than 70,000 employees volunteered about 460,000 hours. Along with a company donation of more than $1 million in funds and clothing following the devastation of Superstorm Sandy, employees are building Habitat for Humanity houses for those who lost their homes.

To address social and environmental issues, we’ve strengthened partnerships in the belief that our combined efforts and resources can lead to comprehensive answers to multifaceted issues. We continue to press for greater accountability across all industries as a strong supporter of the United Nations Global Compact and its ten guiding principles.

Over the years, we’ve entered and invested in a number of countries and we’re gratified to be part of their success stories. One example is our partnership with the International Labour Organization Better Work Program to support vendor compliance with labor standards and laws, which launched in Cambodia in 2004, and has expanded to Haiti, Indonesia, Jordan, Lesotho, Nicaragua and Vietnam.

In Bangladesh, where recent tragedies underscore a country safety record that is unacceptable, we are dedicated to investing the time, effort and funding to bring about lasting change for garment workers. Gap Inc. was one of the first companies to implement our own four-point fire and safety program in the Bangladesh factories that make our products. Through a collaborative process, led by former U.S. Senators George Mitchell and Olympia Snowe, Gap Inc. and leading retailers and apparel companies founded the Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety, making a commitment to a binding, five-year fire and safety initiative that provides a $45 million worker safety fund, in addition to the more than $100 million in  access to low-cost capital being offered by some companies in order to ensure that safety remediation at factories they work with is done in a timely manner. We acknowledge there is more work to be done, but believe these two initiatives represent an important step forward in helping to achieve sustainable reform in the country’s garment industry.

Our conviction that advancing women advances the world is reflected by the 20,000 female garment workers who have completed training through the Gap Inc. P.A.C.E. (Personal Advancement, Career Enhancement) program since 2007. By 2015, we’re committed to 10,000 new participants.

As part of our ongoing sustainability strategy, we continue to explore ways to reduce our environmental footprint. Our Mills Engagement Program, developed in conjunction with the Natural Resources Defense Council, is a clean-water initiative aimed at establishing standards to mitigate the environmental effects of dyeing and finishing facilities. After reducing our greenhouse gas emissions by 20 percent from 2003 to 2008, we’re taking the next step by pledging to reduce GHG emissions by another 20 percent, based on our 2008 levels, by 2015.

On this website, we share recent achievements to build upon for the future, areas that need greater attention, and the tangible goals we are working towards to improve the lives of those who work at and with Gap Inc., and the communities in which we do business. I invite you to read through our report, and learn, in more detail, about our social and environmental responsibility efforts.

Thank you for your time and your interest.

Sincerely

Glenn Murphy