Levi Strauss & Co. Builds on Cleaner, Greener Factory Program

Levi Strauss & Co.
September 13, 2016

Your Levi’s® jeans are about to get a little cleaner – no additional washing required.
Levi Strauss & Co. is partnering with the International Finance Corporation (IFC) to bring best practices to LS&Co. factories in Bangladesh, India, Sri Lanka and Vietnam – helping them cut down on the water, energy and chemicals they use.
The program builds on IFC’s Partnership for Cleaner Textile (PaCT) program, which has already helped 169 textile factories in Bangladesh become more environmentally sustainable.
“We’re pleased to be the first IFC partner to pilot the PaCT program in additional countries,” said Michael Kobori, vice president of sustainability at LS&Co. “Our goal is to scale the practices globally to achieve greater reductions in water, energy and chemical use across our supply chain.”
It starts with small steps that factories can take with little or no investment – like installing more energy-efficient lighting, streamlining production processes and improving equipment maintenance. Taken together, these small steps can have a big impact on a factory’s environmental footprint, reducing water use by up to 20 percent.
Of course, the bigger the investment, the greater the payoff. And the benefits aren’t just environmental. The added efficiencies are also leading to long-term cost savings. One factory, for example, reported that it saved $500,000 in water, energy, steam, dye and chemical usage costs in its first year after spending $100,000 on factory improvements.
“The global textiles sector makes strong contributions to the economies of several countries. It creates jobs, especially for women, and has pioneered implementing climate-friendly, environmentally sustainable practices,” said Mohan Seneviratne, IFC Program Manager for PaCT.  “We are delighted that IFC’s PaCT program is partnering with Levi Strauss & Co. to develop this global environmental-sustainability program.”
The expansion of the PaCT program is just one initiative in LS&Co.’s ongoing commitment to driving the industry toward more environmentally friendly practices. In March, the company made its innovative Water<Less™ finishing process publicly available so that any apparel company could take advantage of the water-saving techniques. The process reduces the amount of water used in garment finishing by up to 96 percent, and has saved LS&Co. more than 1 billion liters of water since it was introduced in 2011. The company plans to make 80 percent of its products using Water<Less™ techniques by 2020.