We want the Levi’s® jeans, Dockers® khakis and all our other products you purchase to be wardrobe favorites for years and years. That’s why we design and make them to last. We acknowledge our business has an environmental impact. That’s why, to better understand this impact, Levi Strauss & Co. commissioned a scientific life cycle assessment of two of our iconic products — the Dockers® Original Khaki and Levi’s® 501® jean. The research demonstrates that one of the greatest opportunities for reducing our impact is after purchase, at the consumer-use stage.
On average, almost 50 percent of the climate impact (generated by carbon dioxide emissions) of a pair of Levi’s® 501® jeans comes from how consumers wear and wash the product. We also know that the average U.S. consumer throws away 68 pounds of clothing and textiles per year, resulting in a total of 23.8 billion pounds of clothing that end up in landfills.
We’re committed to do our part to reduce energy and material use throughout our operations and supply chain and continue to engage consumers on how they can also reduce their environmental footprint as well.
Levi’s® Water<less™ and Waste<less™
Levi's Water<Less™ Collection
The Levi’s® Water<Less™ platform approaches the decisions made in the design process in a different way, reducing the amount of water used in the finishing process. It’s not rocket science, but it is innovative. For instance, simply removing water from stone washes or using a single wet process instead of multiple machine wash cycles, we can significantly reduce water usage. At the same time, we still deliver the same great look and feel that you love. From 2011 to 2013 we produced more than 50 million Levi’s Water<Less™ garments, saving approximately 699 million liters of water.
Levi's Waste<Less™ Collection
In Spring 2013, the Levi’s® brand launched its latest chapter in sustainable design: a collection of denim incorporating post-consumer waste — specifically, recycled plastic bottles and food trays. In our first Waste<Less™ collection, each garment included a minimum of 20 percent post-consumer recycled content. In 2013, the Levi’s Waste<Less collection used approximately 7.9 million recycled bottles for products such as Levi’s® 511™ Skinny jeans, Levi’s® Trucker jackets and the women’s Levi’s® Boyfriend Skinny jeans.
The Dockers® Wellthread collection reinvents the way Levi Strauss & Co. thinks about socially and environmentally sustainable apparel — from the workers who make our clothes, to materials and design, to consumer care and recyclability.
Rooted in our sustainable culture, the initial vision took shape as part of an innovation fellowship with the Aspen Institute, and then leveraged sustainable processes across the company. The end result is durable products with timeless, enduring style that are more responsible for both people and the planet.
The Dockers® Wellthread collection uses specialized garment-dyeing processes that reduce both water and energy use compared to conventional processes: cold-water pigment dyes for tops and salt-free reactive dyes for pants. And, the apparel is dyed in the factory, not in the mill. This practice allows for greater inventory agility because the fabric is dyed-to-order.
The collection is produced in one of five factories where we’re piloting a new approach to improving the lives of apparel workers. In this pilot program, we’re developing programs tailored to the needs of each workforce and showing how these investments not only transform lives, but also yield positive business results. The Dockers® Wellthread khakis are made exclusively at our Improving Workers’ Well-Being pilot site in Bangladesh.
Care Tag for Our Planet
In 2009, Levi Strauss & Co. and Goodwill® launched a U.S. partnership — “A Care Tag for Our Planet” — to spread the word that small changes in the way we care for our clothes can help reduce our climate change impact.
The Levi’s® and Dockers® brands now include relevant messaging on all product care tags encouraging us to “Wash less, wash in cold, line dry, and donate when no longer needed.” Our aspiration is to help put a dent in the 68 billion pounds of clothing a year that end up in landfills while reducing consumers’ climate change impact. Our partnership with Goodwill helped spearhead their national “D Movement” to encourage consumers to recycle clothes and goods. As part of this initiative, we also launched a contest — Care to Air — to find a better way to air dry jeans, as well as every other article of clothing that typically ends up in the dryer.