May 15 2011
Levi’s®, and Dockers®, and our newest brand, Denizen™, are known for marketing and design. We also want to be known for farming.
Not that we’re buying land and leasing tractors. We’ll leave that to the experts.
But 95% of our products are made of cotton. So we have a vested interest in how that cotton is grown. And that’s why we’ve joined the Better Cotton Initiative, which is committed to growing cotton in a way that’s healthier for communities and the environment – and more economical.
My colleagues and I recently had the opportunity to visit some experts – farmers in Akola in central India – who implemented the Better Cotton practices in their most recent harvest. They spoke of the pluses they’d seen, including reducing the amount of pesticides and chemical fertilizer and, in some cases, increasing the use of organic manure. Also, introducing soil management practices that enhance the fertility of the land. The Better Cotton principles also cost them less to implement, so they increased their net profits.
What I found especially interesting is that many of these Better Cotton principles are nothing new to the farmers. They told me this is how cotton used to be grown. Still, this project in Akola is spreading the word – helping all those involved to develop their skills, share knowledge and improve production techniques.
A quick aside. As part of the trip, we went to a local gin, where the cotton is taken after harvest. In the picture, I'm the one on the far right, with my colleagues, Colleen and Dharmendrah. We’re at the gin, holding some of the Better Cotton.
We were accompanied on the trip by a team from Arvind Limited, one of the major mills supplying fabric to Levi Strauss & Co. Arvind has started including 5% Better Cotton in all the fabrics we’re purchasing from them this season.
This was a great trip. It was good to see the Akola farm community excited about raising cotton using Better Cotton practices. And as you, as a consumer, learn more about this kind of farming – how it’s healthier for communities and more environmentally sustainable, without costing more – I think you’ll feel even better about wearing our product.
Posted By: Pankaj Kapoor, Levi Strauss & Co. Social & Environmental Sustainability
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