American fashion brand GAP Inc. has become the latest to join ‘Better than Cash Alliance’, an initiative launched by the UN (United Nation) to fast-track the transition from cash to digital disbursements in a bid to reduce poverty and drive inclusive growth.
GAP’s decision to become a part of the initiative, which already has 60 members, is aimed at improving the livelihoods of the garment workers, who make its clothing at supplier factories. The retailer is eyeing to completely digitise the payment modes for workers by the year 2020.
Around 800 garment manufacturing factories in 30 countries are the major suppliers the US-based fashion retailer. The implementation of digital payment systems will also help in enhancing efficiency and transparency in the entire apparel supply chain.
Markedly, digital payment systems, such as online transfers to bank accounts or mobile wallets, are already in place at more than 60 per cent of GAP Inc.’s supplier factories.
According to David Hayer, Senior Vice President of Global Sustainability at GAP Inc., the company aims to speed up the transition towards a more transparent workplace for women and men who make GAP’s clothes and it’ll be a win-win for garment workers and factories alike.
In its media release, Better than Cash Alliance said that around 80 per cent of the garment industry workforce comprise women but they often live in a cash-only environment and lack access to various financial services.
“Electronic wage payment methods have the benefit of drawing previously unbanked workers into the formal financial structure, providing women with greater control over their finances and a safer way to save, send and invest their hard earned money,” it added.
Apart from this, P.A.C.E (Personal Advancement & Career Enhancement) is another major initiative undertaken by GAP to promote financial literacy and inclusion through its life-skills education and training programme for women garment workers in around 16 countries.