At Levi Strauss & Co, we're focused on building sustainability into everything we do. So we commissioned a scientific life cycle assessment (LCA) to find out the facts about the climate change, water and energy impact of a pair of Levi's® 501® and Dockers® Original Khaki from cotton seed to the landfill.
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The first stage of our product lifecycle is the way famers grow cotton in the fields (95 percent of our products are made of cotton). From our LCA, we learned that almost half of the water used in the full life cycle of the jean is used during this phase. As a result, we are very focused on supporting sustainably grown cotton We’re working with the Better Cotton Initiative to work with farmers, NGOs, and other companies to improve cotton sustainability.
Once cotton leaves the field, textile mills around the world turn the fiber into fabric. As a supporter of the NRDC’s Responsible Sourcing Initiative, we are encouraging mills to reduce their water, chemical and energy use.
Our products are manufactured by contracted suppliers that cut, sew, and finish our products. We are proud that we were the first apparel company to create requirements for our suppliers that include water quality and what kinds of chemicals they use in our products.
Next our products are transported and distributed to retail, online and wholesale locations around the world. We assess energy use and associated greenhouse gas emission data to target the places we can reduce our global carbon footprint through transportation and at our facilities.
From our LCA, we were surprised to learn that some of the largest environmental impacts happen after you take your jeans home. Consumers can reduce the full lifecycle climate change impact of their jeans by up to 50 percent by line drying and washing them in cold water. We’re working to spread the word about simple steps to care for clothes and care for our planet.
We recently launched A Care Tag for our Planet in an effort to encourage everyone to extend the life of a pair of jeans by donating them to Goodwill instead of contributing to the 23.8 billion pounds of clothing that end up in landfills each year.
In 2009, recycled cotton fiber was added to products in the Levi’s® Eco line. We are also exploring innovative ways to sustainably repurpose recycled denim for housing insulation.