Minding The Gap
Energy conservation, sustainable design and waste reduction are key issues for the multi-concept apparel giant.
Mark McMenamin -- Interior Design, 10/17/2007 12:00:00 AM
Naming Todd Oldham as design creative director for Old Navy was The Gap's big 3Q news. Or was it? Weeks earlier, the retailer introduced a new environmental strategy in the third edition of its Social Responsibility Report, which charts the clothier's energy conservation, output/waste reduction and sustainable design initiatives during the 2005-2006 fiscal years.
The 3,100-store-plus chain summarizes its environmental efforts with the acronym ECO —Energy conservation, Cotton/sustainable design, and Output/waste reduction—which also serve as the major sub-categories within the eight-page environmental section of the SRR. The balance of the report is devoted to four other major areas of corporate responsibility: Supply Chain, Employees, Community Investment and Marketplace.
Among the eco achievements highlighted in The Gap's report are an 8.7 percent reduction in energy use in its US stores from 2003 to 2006, a 90 percent increase in paper and cardboard recycling in its North American stores, and the introduction of 100 percent organic cotton apparel in its stores in the US, UK, Canada and France.
The Gap's new environmental plan comes at a time when many retailers, historically also-rans in the race toward sustainability, are gravitating en masse toward greener pastures. Home electronics giant Best Buy recently announced that beginning next year, it would only build LEED-certified stores, and began carrying Maria Yee's EcoLuxury media consoles in its Magnolia Home Theater stores. Even Wal-Mart had entered the fray by partnering with the Carbon Disclosure Project to measure the energy used to source, manufacturer and distribute its products.
To see more facts from The Gap's Social Responsibility Report, in some cases accompanied by images from the retailer's Fall 2007: Classics Redefined campaign, click at right to start the slide show.
To download the full report, go to www.gapinc.com/socialresponsibilityreport.