Are your jeans helping to fight water pollution? Mine are.

In the slew of companies that are now touting socially and environmentally conscious efforts, Gap, Inc.’s clean water laundering program is one that I have sorely overlooked. Since 2004, Gap, the well-known mall anchor with a wall o’ jeans and (Red) tees, has ensured that the water used to wash its jeans pre-sale is then properly treated to prohibit any harmful chemicals and dyes from polluting other bodies of water.

Apparently I was not alone in my oversight of this program because Gap is now reinforcing its social responsibility by increasing consumer awareness about its laundering policy via interior clothing labels.  Each new pair of jeans sold through Gap, Inc.’s brands, including Gap, Old Navy and Banana Republic, will have a label that reads, “The water used in the process of washing & dyeing these jeans has been specially treated to ensure it is safe & clean when it leaves the factory.” The intention of the labels is to, both, raise awareness about this commonly overlooked yet harmful bi-product of the manufacturing process, and assuage Gap, Inc. customers that the company is committed to its prevention.

GreenBiz recently reported that since the program’s ’04 launch it issued guidelines as part of its membership in the BSR Sustainable Water Group, but now… “the guidelines have evolved into a new denim laundry policy that became part of its vendor code of conduct in December. All laundries in its supply chain, now totaling about 90, must meet these standards or demonstrate their intent to do so.” The company is now working closely with about 20 of the 90 that is required to to raise its compliance standards to adhere to the company-wide policy.

Gap, Inc. is one of many working together to better manage wastewater and overall water use.

Posted by: Katie | follow @katieshort on Twitter

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