Environmental group Stand.earth’s “Too Dirty to Wear” campaign calls out Levi Strauss & Co. to step up its efforts to reduce pollution and increase the use of renewable energy across its entire supply chain.
On Wednesday, the group draped a banner above the Levi’s sign at its downtown San Francisco headquarters, changing the company’s name to “Levi Strauss & CO2.” The group also released an open letter urging Levi’s employees to do more and talk less.
Stand.earth wrote, “We recognize that Levi’s has talked about environmental and climate issues, and it has taken some important steps towards sustainability. However, our planet needs much less talk and far more action. Your voice is more important than you think. In the last decade, how employees feel about where they work has been one of the biggest catalysts for new corporate behavior and policies. You want a workplace that reflects your values—Levi’s can be that kind of company in its walk, not just its talk.”
The “Too Dirty to Wear” campaign wants Levi’s to make a leadership-level climate commitment for the full supply chain to meet or beat the Paris Climate Agreement, a 30 percent to 40 percent reduction in total greenhouse gas emissions by 2025. The campaign also calls for the company to transition its entire supply chain to renewable energy, with a minimum of 50 percent of energy sourced through renewables by 2035, and a long-term carbon emission reduction target of 66 percent by 2050.
Stand.earth believes Levi’s can catalyze the demand for renewable energy in China and India and accelerate the shift away from coal and other fossil fuels. The organization reports that coal is the top source of electricity in the company’s factories. Levi’s works with 170 factories in China, where coal powers 70 percent of the electrical grid, and in 44 factories in India, where coal powers 75 percent of the electrical grid.
Levi’s has made some changes to its operations. In September, the company joined the Science Based Targets initiative, a two-year program to develop science-based targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions across the supply chain. As a company, Levi’s aims for 25 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions at its U.S. offices, retail and distribution centers. On the manufacturing side, Levi’s is working toward a 5 percent annual reduction in greenhouse gas emissions per product shipped from company owned and operated plants by 2020.
However, Stand.earth points out that the company has no firm climate commitments for up to 90 percent of its climate pollution, which it claims is largely in the company’s supply chain.
“Levi’s current climate commitments are important steps, but much more is urgently needed,” said Todd Paglia, Stand.earth executive director. “Already, climate change kills more than 300,000 people each year. Levi’s CEO Chip Bergh has the opportunity to help his company fully realize its own core values of empathy and integrity by leading the apparel industry toward groundbreaking climate solutions.”