Investing in Natural Indigo at Scale

Levi Strauss & Co.
December 1, 2022

At Levi Strauss & Co., when we talk about sustainability, we are talking about operating and using resources in a way that can be continued in perpetuity to support people, the planet and future generations. As a business that uses natural resources, our imperative is clear: We must continue to find ways to use less water, reduce emissions, support workers, reduce waste and become more circular in our own operations and through partnerships and investments in innovative technologies.

It is in that spirit that we have made an equity investment in Stony Creek Colors as co-lead on its Series B2 funding round with Lewis & Clark AgriFood to advance and scale innovation in plant-based indigo. The investment in Stony Creek Colors represents a continued commitment to sustainable progress in the denim supply chain and support for early-stage innovations that have the potential to scale widely. The company grows plant-based dyes on former tobacco farms in the South, providing income to farmers shifting their operations to different crops like indigo. The funding will help Stony Creek Colors expand its growing and post-harvest processing operations in Homestead, Florida, as well as expand into additional growing regions beyond its existing 500 acres across Tennessee, Kentucky and Florida.

“As the creators of the modern-day blue jean, we have a responsibility to innovate in the denim supply chain for the future of the planet,” said Harmit Singh, LS&Co. chief financial officer. “With Stony Creek Colors, we’re investing in the future of indigo by collaborating with one of the top innovators in plant-based dyes.”

The Levi’s® brand has worked with Stony Creek Colors for several seasons of its Wellthread® collections, infusing their plant-based indigos into the line’s various pieces over the years. In early 2022, we announced a pilot with Stony Creek Colors through Fashion for Good to begin using plant-based, pre-reduced indigo, called IndiGold™, at scale.

“Our work with Stony Creek Colors on the Levi’s® brand has shown the potential of plant-based dyes, from our Wellthread® collections to successful performance trials,” said Paul Dillinger, LS&Co. head of global product innovation. “We’re excited to bring a plant-based solution to market at scale and do our part to make strides in the industry.”

Nothing is more iconic than blue jeans. From the deepest indigo to the lightest tone of faded denim, the blue hue has been a wardrobe staple for nearly two centuries and is core to our business at Levi Strauss & Co. Through collaboration with innovators like Stony Creek Colors, we’re upholding our commitment to partner across the supply chain and invest in solutions that are meaningful for the industry.