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Gap Inc.

Goal 5: Achieve Gender Equality

5.1)   End all forms of discrimination against all women and girls everywhere

The Gap was founded in 1969 as an equal investment between a woman and a man — Doris Fisher and her husband, Don.  Today, women make up approximately 73 percent of the company's workforce. The majority of its five brands’ customers are female. Gender equality is built into the fabric of the company culture and work.  Last summer, the company for the first time released data confirming equal pay for equal work across the globe. This analysis was validated by an external firm that specializes in gender and diversity strategies.  One year later, Gap Inc. remains the first and only Fortune 500 Company to disclose and validate its pay equality practices.

Further to their commitment to end discrimination against women, Gap Inc. CEO Art Peck has signed the U.N. Women’s Empowerment Principles, highlighting what Gap Inc. has always done — provide equal opportunity to women in the workplace, marketplace and community. Gap Inc. has also, along with other companies such as Coca Cola, Ernst & Young and Intel Corporation—signed onto the She Works Pledge. It will call for measures proven to enhance women's employment opportunities, such as a commitment to increase female representation at management levels.

5.5)   Ensure women’s full and effective participation and equal opportunities for leadership at all levels of decision-making in political, economic, and public life

The Gap Inc. P.A.C.E. program (Personal Advancement and Career Enhancement) empowers women with the skills and confidence to advance at work and at home. Even though eighty percent of garment workers worldwide are women, relatively few advance to higher-level positions—in spite of their capacity to do so. Designed as an education program offering life-skills classes to female garment workers, the holistic curriculum includes up to 80 hours of classes in as many as nine subject areas, such as communication skills; financial literacy; time and stress management; and problem solving and decision-making.  Since GAP launched P.A.C.E. in 2007, more than 30,000 women in 10 countries have participated in the program – and in September 2015, GAP announced a commitment to expand the program to reach one million women around the world by 2020. P.A.C.E.’s evaluation results have demonstrated that the program improves the lives of women and their families by developing women’s knowledge, skills and confidence. The program also has a strong business impact by reducing turnover and absenteeism. GAP has progressively expanded the program from focusing solely on the women who make its clothes to also include women in surrounding communities, and is also adding curricula focused on adolescent girls’ and women’s leadership. Additionally, the program is now being offered to global partners and peer corporations in an effort to broaden its reach and impact.

Goal 6: Ensure Water & Sanitation

6.1)   By 2030, achieve universal and equitable access to safe and affordable drinking water for all  

Gap Inc., through a partnership with Swasti Health Resource Centre, is helping to build water filtration plants in rural communities in India, which are providing clean water to thousands of people. Three systems currently in operation already serve more than 5,000 households and 29 schools across 30 villages in India.

6.3)   By 2030, improve water quality by reducing pollution, eliminating dumping and minimizing release of hazardous chemicals and materials, halving the proportion of untreated wastewater and increasing recycling and safe reuse globally

Gap Inc. is working with suppliers to address the use of harmful chemicals in the production of its clothes—which have the potential to be discharged into local water supply. The company has set an ambitious goal to work towards zero discharge of hazardous chemicals (ZDHC) in its supply chain by 2020, through an industry collaboration – the ZDHC 2020 program. In 2014, the group achieved a major milestone with the creation of an industry-wide standard for restricted substances, which bans the use of harmful chemicals, particularly in fabric production. GAP has communicated this restricted substances list to the vendors, factories and mills that make its clothing and the company is in the process of creating enforcement mechanisms.

The company also works on environmental impacts through its Mill Sustainability Program, launched in 2013, which is focused on establishing clear environmental standards for fabric mills and integrating them into GAP’s sourcing decisions. To date, GAP has worked with 40 strategic mills to assess environmental performance, covering such issues as their water consumption, wastewater treatment and disposal, energy use, and the handling of waste and hazardous substances. GAP is also working with mills in China to participate in the Natural Resources Defense Council’s (NRDC) Clean by Design program, which brings together a range of brands to better address the water impacts of fabric mills. The program has achieved significant reductions in water and electricity use, as well as wastewater discharge. Finally, the company’s Water Quality Program also seeks to protect water quality in its supply chain through monitoring the wastewater created by denim laundries and requiring all laundries producing for Gap Inc. brands to adhere to a set of industry-leading guidelines on water quality. GAP made these guidelines a requirement for doing business with its brands in 2010 and adopted more robust enforcement mechanisms for underperforming facilities in 2013, including having a third party verify their compliance.

Goal 8: Promote Economic Growth & Decent Work

8.6)   By 2020, substantially reduce the proportion of youth not in employment, education or training

Gap Inc.’s job training and internship program, This Way Ahead, provides low-income teens and young adults with the skills, training, and experience to succeed at work. Since launching the program in 2007, more than 2,000 teens and young adults have received job training through This Way Ahead, and it is now running in five major cities in the U.S. – New York, San Francisco, Boston, Houston and Chicago—as well as three cities in the U.K. Participants are recruited through non-profit partners, and attend workshops led by store volunteers on topics such as decision-making, goal setting, presentations, and conflict resolution. Graduates of the program can apply for paid internships in GAP stores, where they can apply their skills right away. GAP stores have hired many of the interns who have completed the program, and this group has stayed on the job twice as long as their peers and scored 10 percent higher on employee engagement surveys. One hundred percent of This Way Ahead graduates have reported gains in maturity, conflict resolution and leadership. At the same time, volunteers who have mentored participants have enhanced their own skills and become more motivated to advance their own careers.