The Largest Denim Company in the World to Cut Water Use by 50% in Water-stressed Areas by 2025

The Largest Denim Company in the World to Cut Water Use by 50% in Water-stressed Areas by 2025

Earlier this summer, Levi Strauss & Co. announced a new water action strategy that represents an evolution in thinking around water use in a global supply chain, particularly in areas already facing water stress, and a new way to define successful water stewardship in manufacturing. It leverages the latest water science and data, consultations with leading water experts, and the company’s own water management experience and leadership over the past three decades to set a new standard for the company and the industry.

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Representative image source: Pixabay, labeled for reuse

Recognizing that saving a liter of water where it is plentiful, while important, is not as critical as saving a liter where water is scarce, LS&Co. will shift from a singular “one-size-fits-all” approach to a more responsive, contextual approach to water management. This will allow LS&Co. to focus reduction efforts where they are needed most, with a goal of reducing its cumulative water use for manufacturing by 50 percent in water-stressed areas by 2025. Furthermore, the strategy is designed to increase access to clean, safe drinking water for communities in sourcing locations – and to drive collective action that delivers lasting change for surrounding communities and watersheds as well.

“We all know that water is perhaps the most critical resource on the planet and that many places, including countries the apparel industry sources from, are struggling with water crises,” said Liz O’Neill, Executive Vice President and President of LS&Co.’s Global Product, Innovation, and Supply Chain. “This announcement is an illustration of what sustainability means to us now: innovative, responsive, scalable programs that drive impact and inspire collective action to address the most pressing social and environmental issues facing our business, industry, and planet.”

This first-of-its-kind approach builds on work done in the years since the 2011 launch of LS&Co.’s open-source Water < Less® program, which significantly reduces the amount of water used in the finishing process. Water < Less® technologies were groundbreaking for their time and helped the company save 3 billion liters of water in the finishing phase through 2018, while recycling and reuse capabilities helped save another 2 billion liters.

But Water < Less® addressed only one phase of LS&Co.’s product lifecycle and made no distinctions based on geography. To make a broader and deeper impact, LS&Co. has developed a more evolved strategy that also addresses areas outside its direct control (akin to what the company did last year when it released its science-based targets on climate change). Data-driven and outcome-oriented, the new approach will heighten both the sustainability and resiliency of the company’s supply chain, while extending that resiliency to the watersheds and communities that support it.

Read the full list of core elements of the new strategy on BusinessWire