International Safety: Gap Vows to Improve Working Conditions at Factories

Article excerpt

The first social responsibility report issued by Gap Inc. found gaps in the occupational health and safety and human rights policies at some of the factories used by the retailing giant.

"We believe that garment and other manufacturing workers around the world deserve better than the reality that many unfortunately face," said Gap Inc. CEO and President Paul Pressler. "We recognize and embrace our duty to take a leadership role, and our first social responsibility report discusses in detail our comprehensive efforts and commitments."

As a result, the San Francisco-based company stopped doing business with 136 factories due to issues such as the use of child labor, inadequate safety and industrial hygiene measures, insufficient access to drinkable water, and verbal and physical abuse.

The authors of the report found that "few factories, if any, are in full compliance all of the time. If they were, we wouldn't need a code or the extensive resources we devote to monitoring. When we find problems, we work with management to try to resolve them as quickly as possible. We will stay with a manufacturer as long as we believe it is committed to making ongoing improvements. …