Levi Strauss & Co commits to a sustainable supply chain

01 Mar '18
2 min read
Courtesy: Levi Strauss & Co
Courtesy: Levi Strauss & Co

Levi Strauss & Co. is set to adopt a new operating model that will create a more sustainable supply chain and cleaner jeans. Called project FLX (future-led execution), this model will replace manual techniques and automates the jeans finishing process, allowing the company to reduce the number of chemical formulations used in finishing to a few dozen.

"Beyond eliminating many chemicals, Project FLX is expected to reduce textile waste by more accurately making what the market needs and may also provide the opportunity to save water in the future. The company has already proved it can use nearly 100 per cent recycled water in the final manufacturing stages with Project FLX and is exploring the possibility of rolling out this water recycling capability more broadly over time," Levi Strauss & Co said in a press release.

"Thirty years ago, jeans were only available in three shades: rinsed, stonewashed and bleached. Today those three shades have exploded into endless variations, all produced with very labour-intensive jobs and long lists of chemical formulations. We're designing a cleaner jean for the planet and the people who make Levi's jeans, and we're doing it on a scale that no one else has achieved to date," said Bart Sights, vice president of technical innovation at Levi Strauss & Co. and head of the company's Eureka Innovation Lab.

This new operating model is a major step forward in Levi Strauss & Co's commitment to achieving zero discharge of hazardous chemicals by 2020 and accelerates the elimination of many chemical formulations that the company's Screened Chemistryprogram identified as 'phase outs'. Among the chemicals that will be eliminated is potassium permanganate, an oxidizer that is used industrywide to replicate authentic vintage finishes.

"This is a significant win for the industry," said Robert Strand, executive director for the Berkeley-Haas Center for Responsible Business. "It's inspiring to see how Levi Strauss & Co used constraints to drive innovation, paving the way for a more sustainable apparel industry. This is an important step forward that I hope others will follow." (RR)

Fibre2Fashion News Desk – India

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