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Collaboration Is Key to Stemming Climate Change — the Case of LS&Co.’s Collaboratory


Editor’s Note: The second Levi Strauss & Co. Collaboratory class will focus on the climate impact of the apparel industry and we are bringing together a small group of leaders committed to doing interesting work in this space. The following excerpt was originally published on LinkedIn by Liza Schillo, Manager, Product Sustainability, who mentored one of last year’s fellows.

The LS&Co. Collaboratory is back. For the second time, LS&Co. is putting out a call to socially and environmentally minded entrepreneurs dedicated to creating a more sustainable apparel industry. …Last year, the issue was water; this year, we’re taking on climate change. Interested parties can apply here.

Each fellow is carefully assigned a mentor – an LS&Co. employee who will think out loud with them as they hone their project idea. Last year, I had the opportunity to serve as a mentor to Kevin McCracken, co-founder of Social Imprints, a full-service merchandising company that employs at-risk populations.

As Kevin’s mentor I witnessed the evolution of his thinking over the course of the Collaboratory Workshop Weekend. Kevin arrived on Day One certain of his project idea. By the time he left, his idea had completely transformed. As a result of conversations with other fellows and LS&Co. leaders, Kevin realized his potential for influence was much greater than he had previously envisioned and expanded his idea. His final proposal included plans to develop and market a more water-efficient product and educate Social Imprints’ customers about their role in saving water. Kevin received a grant from LS&Co. to implement his idea this past May.

This year’s Collaboratory topic is climate change. As Manager of Product Sustainability, I direct LS&Co.’s efforts to reduce the company’s contribution to climate change. With this in mind, I’m eager to see what our second class of fellows comes up with. There is much work to be done in this space, but every good entrepreneur knows that a challenge breeds creativity.

Read more of Liza’s insights on LinkedIn now.