Is Gap Ethical?

With information traveling across the world as fast as possible, more people are becoming aware of the impact of their actions and consumption on the world. In front of this, many brands have decided to step forward and evolve into ethical brands to avoid consumers leaving them behind since their decisions are more purpose-led than ever. Is Gap Ethical?

Is Gap Ethical?

In less than a decade, many brands had made the effort to become ethical, including Gap Inc., which is now among the World’s Most Ethical Brands. Its efforts to create a sustainable supply chain and impulse social or environmental initiatives are also acknowledged by the public. 

Gap Inc.

Donald and Dory Fisher founded the textile and accessories retailer known as Gap or Gap Inc. in 1969. The general public considers it the largest specialty retailer in the United States, which means that Gap focuses on selling only particular product categories instead of a large variety. 

The brand operates in some places as franchises and as company-owned stores in select countries like Canada, China, Brazil, France, Italy, Mexico, Japan, Ireland, Brazil, and the United Kingdom. 

Gap Inc. has other brands division besides Gap, which are:

  • Old Navy – Founded in 1994 to offer affordable and styled clothing for the whole family. 
  • Banana Republic – Founded in 1978 for people with a passion for expedition wear. Nowadays, it’s known for its luxury clothing and accessories.
  • Athleta – Founded in 1998 to provide active women’s clothing. 

What Means To Be An Ethical Brand?

An ethical brand is defined as that which actions behind the product or service are not harmful to the environment, workers, or society. They feel a part of the global community and so they act morally and honestly to fulfill their purposes without forgetting their social and economic responsibilities. 

The Need for Ethical Brands

Over decades, retailers opposed establishing purpose-led actions and values that were environmental-friendly and ethical because they didn’t see the return profit of doing it. After they realized that customers were most likely to become permanent consumers when they feel represented by the brand they consume, brands’ mobilization towards understanding what consumers cared about began. 

Social media has also granted consumers the power of bringing success or failure to brands, as their active role of involvement in judging the brand’s values and practices can highly affect sales. 

Gap’s Ethical Achievements

Gap is continuously working to implement sustainable initiatives while working with also socially responsible partners. 

In the social aspect, Gap launched 2007 the Personal Advancement & Career Enhancement (P.A.C.E.) program to support women working in the apparel business. Gap has also implemented its own Human Rights Policy to develop a supply chain that is respectful, responsive, and resilient. 

Other goals the brand has established to achieve in the future are: 

  • By 2023, Old Navy is devoted to eliminating 100% of plastic shopping bags. 
  • By 2023, Banana Republic will create more eco-friendly denim. 
  • By 2025, Banana Republic will use water-saving techniques and cleaner-chemistry practices to make 50% of its products.
  • By 2025, Gap Inc. will find more sustainable sources to derive 100% of its cotton.
  • By 2050, Gap Inc. will become water positive and carbon neutral.

How To Be An Ethical Brand?

Many factors must be considered before attempting to create an ethical brand, like:

  1. Having a strong purpose. 

Most brands follow the United Nations sustainable development goals (SDGs) as inspiration to find a strong, meaningful purpose. 

  1. Establishing ethical values.

Defining a brand’s principles and values is helpful when creating a brand’s strategy and path of action to fulfill its purpose. 

  1. Offering ethical services and/or products.

Aligning the products and services provided is more important than aligning the branding strategy itself to ethics. That’s why organizations must look to offer products and services that are less or not harmful at all. 

  1. Optimizing the production procedures.

Having an ethical production means respecting the human rights of direct and indirect workers, protecting animals along with the environment, choosing non-harmful ingredients, and reducing waste. 


To conclude, a brand can only be ethical or not ethical since it means that a brand is willing and actually taking care of the environment, its workers, supply chain, and the social community. Gap can be considered an ethical brand because it continuously pursues new goals to achieve a better world through its social and productive practices, however, the title itself doesn’t guarantee anything: Gap must continue showing its advance and creating new sustainable initiatives to keep being preferred by customers. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What other brands like Gap are ethical?

Patagonia is one of the most popular for its sustainable-led branding, but others are Levi’s, Reformation, Hass, Fair Indigo, Eileen Fisher, Cuyana, People Tree, etc. 

What does it mean for a brand to be carbon neutral?

That the brand calculates its processes and product’s carbon emissions and compensates them through carbon offsetting projects like forestry conservation. 

What does it mean for a brand to be water positive?

This means that a brand replaces the water it takes and also creates more to return to the environment. 

Is Gap Ethical?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to top