Today, on Earth Day, we’re highlighting our partnership with Cotton Incorporated’s Blue Jeans Go Green™ denim recycling program, which is designed to help consumers, and us, extend the life of denim and keep it out of landfills. This is another way we are tackling the pressing problem of textile waste in the apparel industry and deepening the conversation we’re having with consumers about sustainability.
Here’s how it works: if you bring in any used denim – of any color, from any brand, in any condition, as long as it’s dry and clean – into any of our mainline or outlet stores in the U.S. or participating Levi’s® stores in Canada and drop it into the specially marked bin, you get 20 percent off one full-price item in the store.
The denim is then collected by Cotton Incorporated’s Blue Jeans Go Green™ program and taken to a company called Bonded Logic™, which transforms it into insulation that can be used in community buildings such as schools, libraries and in low-income housing built by Habitat for Humanity affiliates. This benefits the planet (because the denim doesn’t go into landfill) and communities because it helps keep homes warmer and energy bills lower.
“For more than 150 years, we have made products that are built to last,” said Michael Kobori, vice president of sustainability at LS&Co. “Extending the life of denim through recycling or repurposing is crucial to building a more sustainable business and driving toward a more circular economy.”
We have other programs designed to give denim a second (or third, or fourth) life as well. Our in-store Tailor Shops around the world help consumers repurpose and repair garments, and our Levi’s® Authorized Vintage line makes archive-quality denim, including jeans and Trucker jackets, into artistically unique and personalized pieces for resale in select stores.
This all fits into our broader sustainability programs and aspirations, which are grounded in our Profits Through Principles approach to business. We take responsibility for the human and environmental footprint of our products and operations, doing right by the places where we live and work, and innovating around the possible practice and policies for us, our industry, and the planet.
Our Better Cotton Initiative trains farmers to use water and land more efficiently. Our Water<less® technologies reduce water usage in the finishing stages and have saved 3 billion liters of water used to date. Our Screened Chemistry framework allows us to identify harmful chemical compounds before they get into the supply chain and to find safer alternatives. And through our Science-Based Targets on climate, we have committed to reducing our carbon emissions by 90 percent and using 100 percent renewable electricity in owned-and-operated facilities by 2025, and reducing carbon emissions by 40 percent across our entire supply chain in the same time frame.
Both Water<Less® and Screened Chemistry are also open-sourced, so anyone can implement them, because we know that collaboration and partnership are necessary to make a true difference when it comes to climate change. It can’t be about just one program, or just one company, or just one day. We need to work together, today and every day, to find and scale sustained – and sustainable – efforts over the long term to drive the greatest possible impact for the planet we all share.