Old Navy Sustainability Research

Goals

To determine how Old Navy can sell its close for so cheap for the purposes of understanding how easy or difficult it would be for a company like Old Navy to become sustainable.

Early Findings

Preliminary information indicates that information is limited on how Old Navy is able to provide their clothes at cheap prices. There is some information on the company's sustainability goals and its supply chain. There has been some negative press on The Gap's labor practices, but most of it was early in the 2000s.
  • Old Navy has set a target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 50% and eliminate hazardous chemicals by 2020.
  • However, the company does not use eco-friendly materials and there is no evidence that Old Navy is minimizing packaging.
  • As such, GoodOnYou has rated Old Navy's environmental impact as "It's a Start."
  • Old Navy has also received an "It's a Start" rating for its labor conditions because while "it has a Code of Conduct that covers all of the ILO principles... very few of its facilities have worker empowerment initiatives such as collective bargaining or rights to make a complaint."
  • The company also has an "It's a Start" rating for animal welfare because even though it does not use angora or exotic animal skin, it "still uses leather and down without specifying its sources."
  • In 2019, Old Navy made a commitment to source 100% of its cotton from "more sustainable sources" and to use water-saving techniques to produce 100% of its denim products.
  • A blog indicated that in 2003, The Gap, which was Old Navy's parent company until recently, "was essentially caught in this mistreatment- sweatshop workers in Saipan were forced to work extreme overtime in unsafe conditions and were even subject to forced abortions."
  • In addition, a few years later, "one of their suppliers (Western in Jordan) was caught using child labor, forcing a 109-hour work week, and even raping employees. A few years after that, an Indian factory was filmed revealing child labor."
  • However, the split from The Gap means Old Navy will have a separate supply chain as well.
  • One of the ways Old Navy is able to sell clothes for cheaper is because it does not spend as much time on the development phase: "While the traditional model for apparel companies is to predict what fashions will be stylish in eight months' time, place orders in countries with cheap labor and then deliver product, Old Navy moves faster than the competition by spending less time on the development cycle, getting apparel in store more quickly and then updating on the next round."

Proposed next steps:

You need to be the project owner to select a next step.
As the initial research indicated there is not much information on how Old Navy can sell its clothes at such cheap prices, we recommend continued research into Old Navy's supply chain. This will identify where it sources it clothing and provide insights into its labor practices.
We also recommend research into 3-4 best practices on how a fast-fashion company can become more sustainable with examples of companies that have been successful in doing so.