Support for a collective effort to address sustainability has been growing. Businesses, across all industries, need to start playing a larger role in fighting climate change. It is time to take significant action and responsibility for our products and supply chains. In this blog post we will take a look at Levi Strauss’ plan to reduce their carbon footprint.
Levi Strauss & Co.
Levi Strauss & Co. is an American clothing company that was founded in 1853. They are most widely known for their denim jeans. Founder Levi Strauss, and tailor Jacob Davis, saw a need for work pants that could hold up under rougher conditions. Today, Levi is the world’s largest brand name apparel company. They are also a global leader in denim wear, designing jeans for men, women, and children. Recently, they are the latest apparel brand to address their sustainability goals. They are doing so by cutting down on their greenhouse gas emissions and reducing water usage.
Many companies have already moved, or are moving towards, a greener and more environmentally friendly supply chain. They are now focusing more attention to recycling, protecting endangered forests, sourcing local products, and managing water consumption. It has become more important to consumers, and benefits the company’s bottom line. Companies such as Toyota, UPS, Johnson & Johnson, Puma, Burberry, and Ralph Lauren have initiated plans to reduce their environmental impact. In 2017, Levi and the International Finance Corporation (IFC) began a pilot program with 6 suppliers in Bangladesh, India, Sri Lanka, and Vietnam, resulting in a 20% reduction in emissions. In addition, it decreased their operating costs by more than $1 million.
Levi’s Plan Moving Forward
Levi Strauss, partnered with IFC, is continuing to make sustainability a priority by expanding efforts to cut greenhouse gas emissions and water usage throughout their supply chain. Their target is to cut down greenhouse gas emissions in their owned-and-operated facilities by 90% by the year 2025, as well as using 100% renewable energy and reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 40% across their entire global supply chain. Michael Kobori, VP of Sustainability, says that they will start by implementing energy-efficient programs at 60 of the 580 factories and mills that Levi works with directly.
“We hope this program can also benefit others in the apparel industry and help reduce our collective footprint.” – Liz O’Neill, Executive VP
In addition to cutting down on their greenhouse gas emissions, Levi is looking beyond just their operations and suppliers. They continue to look for ways that their customers can also reduce their impact. Levi consumers are responsible for around 1/3 of the company’s total footprint, laundry being one of the biggest areas. In order to lead their customers in the right direction, care tags are sewn on each piece of clothing saying “wash less, wash cold, line dry, donate when no longer needed”. What’s more, there are now tailors in Levi retail stores which offer repairs, resulting in products lasting longer.
Levi Strauss is not only reducing greenhouse gas emissions, but they are constantly examining ways to reduce water usage. One method they implemented is reusing water during production and creating new finishes that require less water than traditional processes. To date, Levi uses more than 20 water saving finish techniques. Their processes can reduce up to 96% of the water normally used in denim finishing. With these techniques, they have saved more than 3 billion liters of water, and have recycled more than 1.5 billion liters.
Levi Strauss has taken their first step in reducing their carbon footprint. They are cutting down on their greenhouse gas emissions and minimizing their water usage. Having some industry leaders address environmental sustainability will help other businesses to follow. The impacts of climate change will only get worse if we continue down the path we are on. Above all, our planet needs a long-term positive change and Levi is headed in the right direction.