Gap Inc. announced that it is releasing a list of global factories that produce clothing across its five brands – including Gap, Banana Republic, Old Navy, Athleta and Intermix – in a push for increased transparency.
The initiative comes on the heels of fellow retailers that have also started to publicly share factory lists, most recently UK-based Marks & Spencer and Belgium-based C&A. The move marks an evolution for Gap Inc., which was previously hesitant to reveal its factory lists for fear of competition.
Gap Inc. spokeswoman Laura Wilkinson said the decision was part of the company's ongoing commitment to improving factory conditions, including streamlining its approved list of factories from 1,255 to 892 over the past five years as part of an effort to select suppliers that "create greater and more lasting change."
"As we deepen our commitment to sustainability throughout our global business, we regularly assess our work to determine whether new approaches are needed to help unlock solutions to the complex challenges we face," she said.
Transparency has been a mounting priority in the fashion industry for both independently owned and major corporations in recent years. Smaller brands like American Giant and luxury cashmere company Naadam have been particularly open about sourcing along its supply chain. Brooke Blashill, svp and director at Boutique@Ogilby, told Glossy in May that brands of all sizes are more inclined to lift the veil as sustainability becomes more of a collaborative venture with consumers.
"The growing number of apparel industry leaders disclosing factories is good news for workers, the industry, and consumers. Brands that do not disclose are holding out on a critical tool that can promote worker rights. They should stop making excuses," stress industry watchers.