Impact Profile - Levi Strauss & Co.
Sustainable Development Goals:
#6 Clean Water & Sanitation
#7 Affordable & Clean Energy
#9 Industry, Innovation, & Infrastructure
#12 Responsible Consumption & Reduction
#13 Climate Action
Increase market awareness
Strengthen customer satisfaction and loyalty
Create new market opportunities
Build resilient, sustainable supply chains
Reduce manufacturing costs
Levi Strauss & Co. is a privately held American clothing company known worldwide for its Levi's brand of denim jeans. They demonstrate social responsibility to a large extent through initiatives that are “sewn into the fabric” of the company. With their long history of progress, Levi Strauss & Co. continues to champion impact initiatives.
One example is their Worker Well-Being program that protects the basic needs and rights of workers and the environment. Another is how they designed their Terms of Engagement (“TOE”) to provide financial incentives for garment suppliers in developing countries to upgrade environmental, health, safety and labor standards.
Levi Strauss & Co. continues grow in social and environmental impact.
Water is essential to Levi Strauss & Co.’s production, from the cotton fields to manufacturing facilities. Water is an increasingly scarce material that Levi Strauss & Co. is highly dependent upon, and they recognize that water is an essential raw material for agriculture and many industries besides apparel. A single pair of jeans uses 3,781 liters of “embedded” water alone.
Levi Strauss & Co. designed the innovative Water<Less™ process. Now, they approach the decisions made in the design process differently to reduce the amount of water used in the finishing process.
Through experiments and dedication, Levi Strauss & Co. was able to reduce the water used in the textile finishing process by 96%. Since launching the Water<Less™ process in 2011, Levi Strauss & Co. has saved more than 1 billion liters of water in the manufacturing of its products, including 30 million liters of fresh water saved through reuse and recycling.
Today, every new product developed in the innovation lab uses the new energy and resource saving techniques. They encourage consumers to conserve, changing the care tag to say “wash less, wash cold, line dry, donate when no longer needed.”
By 2020, the company expects to manufacture 80% of its products through this process, a 25% from today.
Levi Strauss & Co. made their water saving techniques open source, encouraging other manufacturers to get onboard. They believe if everyone adopts them, the industry will save 50 billion liters or water. Learn more about Levi’s initiatives here.
“Our vendors love it because they save money on it. They use less water, they use less energy to heat the water, so they actually save production costs.”
- Michael Kobori, Vice President of Sustainability
Bibliography: Levi Strauss & Co., Worker Well-Being, Water<Less™, Sustainable Brands Levi's Water<Less, In Its Quest To Decrease Water Use, Levi’s Is Open Sourcing Production Methods, Sustainability Programs