Sustainable strategic measures in cotton fabric value chain - a case study on Gap Inc. - Projects
Updated : October 2020
This paper discusses some of the sustainability measures taken by Gap Inc, the largest clothing retail store in California across the cotton fabric manufacturing value chain - from harvesting to fabric manufacture. These strategies are aimed at balancing the environmental, societal and economic impacts surrounding the sustainability of cotton.
The cotton value chain is very complex and affects both the environment and the society to a great extent through the use of harmful chemicals during cultivation and water, air pollution during fabric manufacture. In some cases, the process also involves unfair labour conditions.
Gap Inc. works with relevant suppliers in the textile and apparel/accessories production sector to ensure sustainable and carbon emission reduction methods are being implemented. This is achieved by creating standards for their vendors, public policies and business practices. The company has also made significant changes in its retail stores to enable the use/sales of sustainable clothing.
The company focuses on four areas - supplychain, environment, employees and community investment. On the supplychain, the company ensures sustainable organic cotton cultivation through collaborations with the respective governments to eliminate the use of child labor and has established Vendor Compliance Officers to monitor the sustainable measures implemented across the fabric production value chain. It is also a founding member of Better Cotton Initiative. On the environment aspect, the company focuses on minimizing water, energy consumption, waste management and sustainable textile designs through detailed life cycle assessment and collaboration with environmental groups.