How “green” are your Levi’s? [News]
By Rachel Kelly, Channel NewsAsia, 22 Mar 2012.
A goal of Levi Strauss is to become a zero-waste company. It has cut energy and water consumption, and even labelled some of its jeans as green.
For example, the company has introduced products such as “waterless jeans” – which require less water during the manufacturing process.
Mr Michael Kobori, vice-president of Social and Environmental Sustainability at Levi Strauss & Co, said: “Our designers challenged us to get the same design aesthetic, the same look using less water, so we have been able to do that. There have been a number of business benefits, to using less water. One is we are getting more innovation.
“The average pair of jeans uses 42 litres of water in the manufacturing process. Through waterless, we have been able to reduce that anywhere from 28 per cent to 96 per cent. Globally, that means that we have been able to save 172 million litres of water on thirteen million products.”
The firm also looks at the life cycle of its products. From the cotton used to make the jeans, to restricting the use of certain chemicals in manufacturing, as well as what happens to the jeans at the end of their product life cycle.
More than 95 per cent of Levi’s products are made with cotton. Despite Levi’s only using less than one per cent of the world’s annual cotton crop, it has joined hands with other heavyweight cotton consumers such as Marks & Spencer, Adidas, and IKEA, as well as other groups like WWF, to form the Better Cotton Initiative.
The initiative aims to improve both the social and environmental practices of cotton producers, such as reducing the impact of pesticide use on human and environmental health.
Mr Kobori said: “Actually, what we are finding in the pilot programmes is that with the Better Cotton Initiative, farmers can use less inputs and less chemicals and less water. Our findings show increased yields because they are doing better in terms of growing the crop – they are learning better agricultural techniques.”
He added that the yield improvement varies depending on the farm.
The denim maker said that it has been in business for over 150 years and if it wants to be around for another 150 years, it has got to build sustainability through all aspects of its business.
“It is really a matter of survival as a company,” added Mr Kobori.
Source: Channel NewsAsia
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