Gap is undertaking water conservation with a new sustainable manufacturing goal to save 10 billion liters of water by the end of 2020. The goal would yield water savings equal to the amount of daily drinking water needed for 5 billion people. The company stated efficiency improvements and product innovation would be critical to achieving the potential water savings.
Gap’s new manufacturing goal is part of its water stewardship strategy that focuses on reducing environmental impact at the raw materials and product design level, in addition to helping communities touched by the company’s efforts to improve clean water accessibility and sanitation processes. Over the past few years, Gap Inc. has also elevated water efficiency improvements at the mill, laundry and product level.
Gap is actively monitoring wastewater quality at denim laundries through its Water Quality Program, an initiative launched in 2004 that ensures denim laundries’ wastewater is properly treated. To improve its denim products, the Gap brand established a denim wash program dubbed Washwell, which reduces water use by 20 percent or more. Since launching the program in 2016, the Gap brand has saved more than 100 million liters of water.
The company is also working with other leading authorities to support more environmentally responsible manufacturing processes. The company’s Women and Water program is working to help communities boost clean water accessibility and sanitation. In 2014, the company integrated its water, sanitation and hygiene curriculum into its P.A.C.E. program that educates female garment workers about safe water-handling practices.
Since 2014, Gap projects have worked to conserve more than 2.4 billion liters of water and progress toward the new goal is under way due to improvements in clean water access, product design and material sourcing.