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Climate, Consumption and Community Guide LS&Co.’s Sustainability Goals

Levi Strauss & Co. (LS&Co.) is focusing on three C’s—climate, consumption and community—when it comes to ESG (environmental, social and governance) matters, according to its just released second annual sustainability report for fiscal year 2021.

The report outlines the denim giant’s 16 goals for 2025 and beyond across the three categories.

LS&Co.’s climate goals include a 40 percent absolute reduction in supply chain greenhouse gas emissions by 2025, a 90 percent absolute reduction in greenhouse gas emissions and 100 percent renewable electricity in all its own facilities that same year and net-zero greenhouse gas emissions no later than 2050. It also pledges to reduce freshwater use by 50 percent by 2025 compared to 2018 and to implement a biodiverse strategy by 2025.

On the topic of consumption, it will introduce secondhand resale and upcycling initiatives in top markets by 2025 and be circular ready—though not entirely circular—by 2026 by following the Ellen MacArthur Foundation Jeans Redesign guidelines to make jeans more durable and recyclable.

LS&Co. also aims to produce zero landfill waste at its facilities by 2030; eliminate single-use plastics; use screened chemicals for wet finishing by 2026 and only third-party approved materials by 2030.

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On the community front it vows to continually improve apparel workers’ health and engagement, reward them fairly and equally, ensure that its work environment is inclusive, use the Levi Strauss Foundation to enact social change and to make societal improvement through volunteerism, advocacy and other measures.

The report launched on the same day as the second iteration of the brand’s “Buy Better, Wear Longer” campaign arrived. “Our goals articulate how we plan to become an even more resilient business while also signaling to our industry our willingness to collaborate and create the scale necessary to address the most critical challenges of our time. And our ‘Buy Better, Wear Longer’ campaign represents the continuation of our ongoing conversation with consumers about the need to combat overproduction and overconsumption in and by the apparel industry,” wrote LS&Co. CEO Chip Bergh in the report.

Among the highlighted actions for the year were the launch of the first-ever circular Levi’s 501 model (using Renewcell’s Circulose fiber) and a 95 percent use across the board of cotton that was organic, recycled or Better Cotton. In 2021 LS&Co. also joined the Ellen MacArthur Jeans Redesign project to promote greater circularity in denim, began collaborating with Stony Creek Colors to use plant-based, pre-reduced indigo and collected an estimated 400 metric tons of fabric scraps for recycling or recovery at its factory in Plock, Poland.

“Our water stewardship efforts will continue to involve sourcing more sustainable fibers,” added the report. “For example, one of our fiber innovations, cottonized hemp, is much less water-intensive than conventional cotton production and has the added benefit of relying on rainwater instead of irrigated water that could be used for other productive purposes. Our product circularity work, such as using Circulose—which includes fiber spun from discarded denim—also benefits our water efforts because it reduces the amount of water required to create virgin materials.”

Other environmentally friendly denim initiatives include the in-store and traveling Tailor Shops that can repair and customize old jeans and the launch of Levi’s Haus retail concepts in London and Mexico to extend the life of denim.

The company is now also offering state-of-the-art denim sampling and digital prototyping through its Eureka Innovation Lab.