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Gap Highlights Path to Net Zero by 2050

Gap Inc. released its sustainability report, detailing the progress it has made on emissions, energy use and water replenishment.

Gap Highlights Path to Net Zero by 2050

Gap’s newest sustainability report details its progress toward GHG emissions reduction, its water-related initiatives and more.

Gap Inc. released its 2023 ESG report Tuesday, detailing the company’s progress on its emissions, energy and water targets and putting forth further information on the strategy behind its sustainability-related goals. 

The 83-page report encompassed each of Gap’s four brands: its namesake label, Gap; Old Navy; Banana Republic and Athleta. The report’s findings proved largely positive for the company, and Gap’s CEO, Richard Dickson, lauded Gap’s progress and innovation in the introduction letter. 

“When Don and Doris Fisher opened the very first Gap store in 1969, they bridged the generation gap with clothing and experiences that spoke to an energetic new idealism. One that questioned convention and imagined better,” he wrote. “Today, 55 years later, the people of Gap Inc. are still bridging gaps, inspired by our shared humanity, to create a better world. A world where purpose and profit co-exist in pathbreaking ideas that better the well-being of people and the planet.” 

Emissions and Energy 

Gap has two major emissions-related goals to address by 2030: to reduce Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions by 90 percent from a 2017 baseline and to reduce Scope 3 emissions by 30 percent from a 2017 baseline. 

While the company did not provide 2023 data regarding either goal, it said it remains on track toward both of those ambitions. Between 2017 and 2022 Gap reduced its Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions by 77 percent; in the same time frame, it lowered its Scope 3 emissions by 16 percent. 

In addition to those emission reduction goals, Gap has aspirations to achieve net-zero carbon emissions throughout its value chain by 2050. In its report, it said it has taken preliminary steps toward that goal by working toward submitting its target to the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) and that it has “developed a long-term strategic roadmap.” 

Though, at large, the company has slashed its emissions, some of its measurements rose between 2021 and 2022. For instance, the company in 2021 reported that Scope 1 emissions came in at 27,762 metric tons of CO2E. In 2022, that figure rose to 41,942 metric tons of CO2E. Similarly, Scope 3 franchise emissions rose from 16,528 metric tons of CO2E in 2021 to 27,325 metric tons of CO2E in 2022. 

On the energy usage front, Gap is looking to become greener.

The company has plans to source 100 percent renewable electricity for all company-operated facilities globally by 2030. In 2022, 58 percent of electricity used for company-operated facilities came from renewable sources; the company has not yet made 2023 data available.

Further data on 2023 emission reductions, electricity use, water use and more will be made available later this year, per the company. 


In March 2023, Gap announced it had several new goals around water stewardship, one of which was to “reduce water use and replenish water to nature, equivalent to 100 percent of the water used in manufacturing apparel and in our company-operated facilities” by 2030. 

By the end of fiscal year 2023, the company had made it 15 percent of the way there. Though the company saved 3.5 billion liters of water in 2023 through its partnership with Arvind, its Washwell program and its efficiency programs, it saved less water last year than it did in 2022. In 2022, the company saved 4.8 billion liters of water. 

Though Gap’s water savings went down, its replenishment totals increased. In 2022, Gap replenished 730 million liters of water to nature; in 2023, it replenished 1.2 billion liters. 

The company continues to evaluate its water risk factors, the report noted. 

“In 2023, we mapped nearly all of our Tier 1 and Tier 2 manufacturing sites for water risk and stress using the WRI Aqueduct and WWF Water Risk Filter tools and are now focusing on high-risk sites for interventions,” the report said. “This led us to concentrate on priority countries in South and Southeast Asia as well as Central America.” 


Gap also provided a breakdown by brand for progress toward more sustainable materials. 

According to the report, Old Navy lags behind the other brands. At present, the brand gets 16 percent of its polyester from recycled sources, and 67 percent of the fibers in Old Navy products come from “more sustainable sources.” 

Comparatively, 17 percent of Gap’s polyester comes from recycled sources and all of its cotton is Better Cotton verified. The brand also uses its water-saving technique, Washwell, for 99 percent of its “eligible denim and woven bottoms.” 

Banana Republic has surpassed its goal of having fibers from “more sustainable sources” make up 50 percent of its fibers by 2030, recording that 62 percent of product fibers came from those sources in 2023. It eclipses both Gap and Old Navy with its recycled polyester use; 22 percent of all polyester used by the brands comes from recycled sources. But Gap has the leg up on denim and woven bottoms, as Banana Republic uses Washwell technology for 65 percent of its products. 

Athleta, the Gap portfolio’s only certified B Corporation, sourced 75 percent of its polyester from recycled materials and used only cotton verified by Better Cotton in 2023. 

The company at large has set a goal to source at least 45 percent of its polyester from recycled sources by 2025. In 2023, 19 percent of the polyester used came from recycled sources, the report noted. Nonetheless, the company maintained that it is “on track” to meet its recycled polyester goal in time. 


While Gap does not report on the waste its operations directly create, it has goals around eliminating business-to-consumer and business-to-business packaging waste, particularly for plastic.

In line with its commitment to the Fashion Pact, it has been working to “eliminate unnecessary or problematic plastics in packaging to consumers by 2025 and in packaging to businesses by 2030.”

As of 2023, 47 percent of “unnecessary or problematic plastics” in consumer-focused packaging had been eliminated in favor of paper. That effort extended e-commerce transactions and shipments and has also shown up in stores as they transition to more eco-friendly shopping bags.

Gap also wants at least half of all its plastic packaging to be composed of fully recycled content — by 2025 for consumers and by 2030 for businesses. It has already achieved its consumer-facing goal for 2025, with 80 percent of all plastic packaging for consumers having been eliminated.

Awards and Ratings 

Gap celebrated its accomplishments in ESG, showcasing a slew of awards, press mentions and accolades in its 2023 report. 

Among those achievements was an A- rating from the CDP for climate change response.

It also completed the certification process for Textile Exchange‘s Content Claim Standard (CCS 3.0) in 2023, which gives Gap access to systems it said “will enable [the company] to better support franchise partners in making sustainability claims while strengthening our overall claims approval process.”

Several of its brands also gained individual certifications relevant to material quality and innovation. Athleta secured a Responsible Wool Standard (RWSf) certification, while Banana Republic scored a European Flax Standard certification. Meanwhile, Gap brand and Old Navy received approval to make claims about the sustainability of the cotton they use. 

Dickson said the company’s movement provides a sense of hope for the future as Gap proceeds toward its sustainability-related goals. 

“We are remarkably proud of the meaningful change we created in fiscal 2023,” Dickson wrote. “And this year, we’re motivated to matter even more.”