Thrifty Threads

Levi’s Latest Sustainable Moves




World record holder and Olympic champion sprinter Usain Bolt will soon model Puma boots that are “made for rotting,” and when the next Levi Strauss collection arrives, their new jingle will be, “These jeans are made of garbage.” Crushed brown and green half-liter plastic bottles will be on display at retail store displays, of which the equivalent of eight, or 20 percent, are blended into each pair of Waste<Less jeans.

Nike and Gap have their own sustainability programs, and Patagonia has long supported a small ecosystem of Earth-friendly suppliers. But as the biggest maker of jeans in the world, with sales of $4.8 billion in 2011, Levi’s efforts command the most attention.

Levi joined the Better Cotton Initiative, a group of companies that work with local nongovernmental organizations in Pakistan, India, Brazil and Mali to teach farmers how to grow cotton with less water. Last year marked the first cotton harvest given this effort and Levi has blended its share into more than 5 million pairs of jeans.

With cotton prices on the rise and pressure from activist groups such as BSR, an environmental organization that works with businesses, large clothing manufacturers are starting to adopt more sustainable practices.


Source: Business Week

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