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Levi Strauss saves 1bn litres of water through stewardship
Mar '15
Iconic denim jeans maker Levi Strauss said it has saved 1 billion litres of water since 2011 through its ‘Water Less’ process, which reduces the water used in garment finishing by up to 96 per cent.

Alongside, Levis also released the new Product Lifecycle Assessment (LCA), an update on its groundbreaking 2007 study that examined the environmental impact of its products.

“The new study analyses the complete product lifecycle, probing environmental impacts of cotton, apparel production and distribution and consumer washing and drying habits,” the apparel marketer said.

“It’s time to rethink autopilot behaviours like washing your jeans after every wear because in many cases it’s simply not necessary”, Levis Strauss said in a press release.

The study shows that of the nearly 3,800 liters of water used throughout the lifetime of a pair of jeans, cotton cultivation at 68 per cent and consumer use at 23 per cent have the most impact on water use.

According to the denim marketer, consumer care is also responsible for the most significant energy use and climate impact, representing 37 per cent of the 33.4 kg of Co2 emitted during the lifecycle of a jean.

The new LCA expands on previous research to better understand the impact of cotton cultivation and includes data from the world’s primary cotton producing countries.

It also analyses consumer care data from new markets, including China, France and the United Kingdom, to understand the costs and benefits of differences in washing habits.

To reduce the impact of cotton consumption, Levis Strauss is working with the Better Cotton Initiative (BCI) to train farmers to grow cotton using less water.

Based on the latest BCI harvest data available, in 2013, cotton farmers in China reduced their water use by 23 per cent compared with farmers who were not using BCI techniques.

The company added that it plans to continue working with its global suppliers with the goal of sourcing approximately 75 per cent ‘Better Cotton’ by 2020, up from 6 per cent today.

It will also continue to work toward using less water during manufacturing by expanding the Water Less process to include more Levi’s products, such as tops.

By 2020, the Levi’s brand aims to make 80 per cent of its products using Water Less techniques, up from nearly 25 per cent today.

The new LCA also reveals that Americans use more water and energy to wash their jeans than consumers in China, France and the UK.

It shows that consumers in China wear their jeans, on average, four times before tossing them into the wash and if US consumers did this, they could reduce the water and climate change impact by 50 per cent.

CEO Chip Bergh said, “Our LCA findings have pushed us as a company to rethink how we make our jeans, and we are proud that our water stewardship actions to date have saved 1 billion liters of water.”

“By engaging and educating consumers, we can fundamentally change the environmental impact of apparel and, ideally, how consumers think about the clothes they wear every day,” he added. (AR)

Fibre2fashion News Desk - India

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