World Water Day: Let’s Make a Difference, Together

Levi Strauss & Co.
March 21, 2014

We’re in the midst of a serious drought here in California. So much so that the state has labeled the situation an emergency and is encouraging residents to significantly reduce water use.

This situation is a reminder—temporary, we hope—of what people in other parts of the world consider routine, a way of life. And we know that not just because of what we’ve read or where we’ve traveled, but also because of where we do business.

We make our Levi’s® blue jeans, Dockers® khakis and other products in partnership with vendors in places such as Egypt, India and Pakistan—countries where there are serious water scarcity issues.

To mark World Water Day tomorrow, we wanted to tell you what we’re doing to make a difference, to reduce our use of this precious natural resource.

In 2011, we launched Levi’s® Water<Less™ jeans, made using less water in the finishing process. Our denim finishing experts pioneered new techniques and updated existing ones with an eye to reducing water consumption while still achieving the same great style and look that you expect. In some cases, the Levi’s® Water<Less™ techniques reduce the amount of water used for finishing by up to 96 percent.

We’re proud to share the progress we’ve now made. In fewer than four years, our Levi’s® Water<Less™ collection has saved more than 770 million liters of water. To give you an idea of how much that is, we estimate it’s enough to provide drinking water for the entire city of New York City or London for more than a month—or to fill 308 Olympic-sized swimming pools. Please check out the infographic below.

Though we’re proud of our Levi’s® Water<Less™ efforts, we’re not just treading water. As part of our ongoing commitment to environmental sustainability, we are pushing for pioneering strategies on protecting clean water and focusing on reducing overall water consumption—from the fields where cotton is grown to supplier laundries and finishing facilities.

In fact, we recently worked with one of our suppliers in China to create a way to recycle the water used in the finishing process over and over again. As a result, we made 100,000 pairs of Levi’s® women’s jeans with 100 percent recycled water, saving 12 million liters of water. We’re working with other suppliers now to scale this new technology.

Want to help? We know from our life cycle assessment of a pair of Levi’s® 501® jeans that consumers can have a major impact in reducing the amount of water used over the lifetime of a piece of clothing. It’s as easy as changing your laundry habits. For those of you in the U.S., if you wash your jeans every two weeks instead of weekly, you’ll save 14 liters of water. That’s 59 eight-ounce glasses of water.

On top of that, washing in cold water and line drying your clothes will help save energy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Think about it. World Water Day could be just the excuse for you to change your laundry habits—and even do laundry less often! Good for you. Good for the planet.