Gap reduces GHG emissions 20% over five years

Gap has reduced greenhouse-gas emissions by 20% from 2003 to 2008, exceeding the goal it set as a member of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Climate Leaders Program, according to the retailer’s fourth social responsibility report. The company reduced energy use on average from 34.32 kWh/sq. ft. (2003) to 27.48 kWh/sq. ft. (2008) at its U.S. stores.

Gap has focused on its energy use as part of a comprehensive approach to reducing its environmental impacts. Key environmental initiatives detailed in the report include:

• Replacement of the high-bay metal halide lighting fixtures at Gap distribution centers with energy-efficient fluorescents.

Since the program’s inception in 2006, Gap has significantly reduced its annual energy consumption and costs, saving 26 million kWh and more than $2 million annually, while maintaining and even improving lighting levels.

• Installation of a one-megawatt solar-power system with a ground-mounted solar tracking system at its West Coast distribution center in Fresno, Calif., in 2008. Gap expects the system to generate approximately 1.9 million kWh of electricity annually.

The solar installation was completed through a power purchase agreement in partnership with MMA Renewable Ventures, a subsidiary of Municipal Mortgage & Equity.

• By taking a close look at its practices, Gap was able to recycle more than 45 tons of paper, cardboard and containers from its North America corporate offices, distribution centers and stores.

• Joined the Business for Innovative Climate and Energy Policy coalition in partnership with such brands and companies as Nike, Levi Strauss, Starbucks, Timberland and Jones Lang LaSalle, along with Ceres -- a national network of investors, environmental organizations and other groups focused on sustainability.

• Launched an environmental footprint assessment of its North American retail stores, seven distribution centers, 11 headquarters buildings and five design studios in 2008 examining energy, water usage, effluents and waste (including wastewater, solid waste and hazardous waste). It is scheduled to be completed this year. A second phase focusing on Gap’s supply chain will begin in early 2010.

According to the report, Gap store designers are conducting LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) assessments of their current store designs to identify areas for improvement. Old Navy is currently developing a new store design template and aims to incorporate LEED design principles. 

“This is a priority for the company overall,” stated Franky Mo, senior manager of environmental affairs for Gap, in the report. “From the structure of stores to their air-conditioning, paint, lighting and energy use, we can design something much more efficient.”

The company issued the report in an online-only format, available at gapinc.com/socialresponsibility.