Published: Mon, Aug 21, 2017
Type: Case study

Doris and Don Fisher opened the first Gap store in 1969 with a simple idea — to make it easier to find a pair of jeans and a commitment to do more than sell clothes. Over the last 48 years, Gap Inc. has grown from a single store to a global fashion business with five brands — Gap, Banana Republic, Old Navy, Athleta and Intermix. 

The company’s global footprint now includes about 3,200 company-operated stores, about 450 franchise stores and approximately 135,000 employees. In all, Gap Inc. works with 800 vendors around the world, including in China, India, Vietnam, Cambodia and Indonesia, and sources cotton from China, the U.S., India, and Pakistan. While the business has grown, one thing has endured – the values that Doris and Don instilled continues to guide the company’s sustainability practices.

Gap Inc. estimates that it touches the lives of millions of people throughout its value chain – from cotton and fabric production, to those who cut and sew the garments. Across the industry, 80 percent of apparel workers are women. Nearly ten years ago, Gap Inc. launched the P.A.C.E. (Personal Advancement & Career Enhancement) programme to help women who make their clothes gain the skills and confidence to advance at work and at home. Implemented in partnership with NGOs, including Swasti and CARE, this voluntary education programme teaches women a range of managerial, interpersonal, organizational and practical skills. The programme’s centrepiece is 65-80 hours of module-based instruction, covering such topics as safe water practices, hygiene, reproductive and general health.

See the Corporate engagement on water supply, sanitation and hygiene report