Levi Strauss & Co.
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How we make our products is just as important as what we make, so we consider our impact at every step.

More than 165 years ago, we created the blue jean as a response to the people’s need for pants durable enough to withstand the toll of prospecting in the California hills. Today, we manufacture our products with the same responsive spirit. As a company with a global supply chain, however, it’s not just consumers we need to respond to, but also the people who make the garments, the communities in which they are assembled, and the resources of this planet that we all share.

Every step matters – our Terms of Engagement, the water we use (and increasingly recycle and reuse), the chemicals we keep in and out of our supply chain, the people who assemble our products and the processes that determine our carbon footprint. Shaped by data and driven by innovation, we are adapting at every step of the manufacturing process to make it more sustainable, and sharing what we learn with others to catalyze systemic change across the apparel industry.

This is how we respond to what’s needed today – and build the strongest company for the long term.

Making a Climate Commitment
Our climate change commitments help us make better products and point the way toward a more sustainable apparel industry.
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Mountains
Water
The Issue

Making jeans is a very thirsty process; present methods use more water in a year than the U.S. has drinking water. This is too much.


Our Plan

Reduce our water footprint across the board with a special focus on water-stressed areas.

Climate
The Issue

Thirty-one percent of carbon emissions in our supply chain comes from fabric production, 9 percent from the garment assembly process, and 6 percent from processes such as the manufacturing of items such as buttons, zippers, rivets, snaps, and stitching.


Our Plan

Reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 90 percent in our owned-and-operated facilities and 40 percent in our entire supply chain by 2025.

Chemicals
The Issue

It takes about 3 1/2 times more chemicals than cotton by weight to make, dye, and care for a pair of jeans.


Our Way Forward

Zero discharge of hazardous chemicals by 2020 and an industry-wide adoption of our open-sourced Screened Chemistry program.

People
The Issue

We must consider how we can positively impact the women and men who work throughout our supply chain.


Our Plan

Reach 200,000 workers with our Worker Well-being initiatives by 2020 and share the program with other companies so they can institute it as well.

Partnerships and Programs for Progress
Water<Less®

In 1995, we were the first apparel company to establish strict water quality standards for suppliers. In 2011, we began implementing the Water<Less® process in our design and manufacturing pipeline, reducing the amount of water used in the finishing process. This has helped us save some 3 billion liters of water and could, we believe, save the apparel industry 50 billion liters of water by 2020 (which is why we open sourced the process). Shop Water<Less®.

Screened Chemistry

We were one of the first companies to establish a Restricted Substances List (RSL) forbidding the use of certain potentially harmful chemicals, and we were the first to set stringent standards for wastewater leaving supplier factories. We are committed to zero discharge of hazardous chemicals by 2020 and our Screened Chemistry program, a hazard-based approach that keeps harmful compounds out of the supply chain, has been adopted by other brands and is becoming the industry standard. Learn more.

Project F.L.X.

In 2018, we announced Project F.L.X. (future-led execution), a transformative process for jean finishing that replaces manual techniques with automated digital tools, including laser technology. F.L.X. reduces the number of chemical formulations used in the jean finishing process from thousands to just a few dozen, and it helps bring the finishing process much closer to the consumer, which over time will help reduce the amount of inventory we need to manufacture and carry. Learn more.

Worker Well-being

In 1991, we became the first multinational company to establish a comprehensive workplace code of conduct – our Terms of Engagement – for manufacturing suppliers, and we’ve been strengthening protections of workers’ rights and workplace safety ever since. In 2011, we launched the next-generation model of sustainable labor practices, our Worker Well-being initiative, which goes beyond compliance to support financial empowerment, health and family well-being, and equality and acceptance for the people who make our products. Now in 17 countries, the program has reached more than 190,000 workers across our supply chain, and we work with the Sustainability and Health Initiative for NetPositive Enterprise (SHINE) at Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health to gather data about the programs that we can use to improve them as we go. Learn more here.

Expanding PaCT to new markets

As part of our ongoing collaboration with the International Finance Corporation (IFC), we are working with the Partnership for Cleaner Textiles (PaCT) to provide access to advisory services and low-cost financing to suppliers who wish to invest in energy and water efficiency and thus reduce their carbon footprints. This helps provide capital and technical support that they might not otherwise be able to access. The program was piloted in six countries in 2018 with strong results and is being rolled out to several more countries in 2019.

Sustainability Resources