Letter To Gap About Business Practices and Sustainability

The other day Emily purchased a few articles of maternity clothing from Gap’s sale section online, afterwards she was asked to give some feedback. Here’s what she wrote:

I am interested in clothing that is made with Organic and Sustainable fibers, such as Organic cottons, bamboos, and modal.  I also always look for labor practices when I shop: whom do you employ?  How do you treat them?  When I see good practices, I am willing to spend more on my products.

Low and behold just a day later she got an email from a customer service agent at Gap Inc:

Dear Ms. Daniels,

We appreciate your comments to BizRate and wanted to reply to you. Thank you for your inquiry about the treatment of workers and the factories that make our clothes.  We share your concern, as this is also a very important matter to us.  We want our products to be made in a safe and humane environment, and we’ve devoted significant amounts of time, money and energy toward improving factory conditions and the lives of garment workers.

We’re committed in our efforts.  Nearly a decade ago, we created a Code of Vendor Conduct establishing our principles and the expectations we have for factories that produce our clothes.  Today we have one of the most comprehensive factory monitoring programs in the apparel industry with more than 90 employees around the world who are devoted to improving the factories in which our products are made.  We make both announced and surprise visits that include interviewing workers,
reviewing documents, inspecting health, safety and labor conditions, and more.  In addition, we work closely with nonprofit and governmental organizations, independent monitors and community leaders, striving to promote change through greater collaboration among all concerned

We’d like to share more about our program with you, and we invite you to visit our web site at:  Our Social Responsibility Page

We’ve also recently published our first Social Responsibility Report which is available online as well.  We want our customers, employees and investors to know what we’re doing to improve factories, and your feedback about our efforts is greatly appreciated.

We were both excited that they were so quick to respond and that they had some positive things to say about what they are trying to do. Many of our huge multinational corporations have a long way to go to make their practices both fair and sustainable but it is nice to hear that some companies are working on these issues and addressing the problems.  I certainly don’t think that Gap is going to be contending (in terms of practices and sustainable innovations) with some of our other far more environmentally careful companies like Patagonia anytime soon but I thought overall this was pleasant news worth being shared.