Recently, Levi Strauss released their 2012 environmental sustainability report with some impressive results.
As a “Big Company, Smaller Footprint,” Levi Strauss has made some solid strides towards environmental sustainability. For example, according to the report, the company has reduced their carbon footprint 13 percent below 2007 levels.
Part of the reason Levi Strauss was able to reduce their footprint is due, in large part, to where they get their energy. A total of 11 percent of the energy came from renewable sources, the report noted. These purchases helped cut carbon emissions by 3,039 metric tons in the U.S., and 12, 251 tons in Europe.
Levi Strauss also plans to cut greenhouse gases by 25 percent by 2020, while aiming for 100 percent renewable energy use in the future.
“It’s an ambitious vision. But we’re no stranger to taking on the challenges of our times,” the company said in the release.
Known for their cutting edge vision, this is not the first time Levi Strauss has taken some strong stances on sustainability in the clothing industry. Previously, the company created the first code of conduct for more eco-friendly designs for their suppliers.
Given there is more awareness by the public about climate change, along with increased extreme weather events across the globe, it’s not surprising many corporations have become more concerned about the business impacts of climate change on their supply chain and the communities they serve. Cotton makes up around 95 percent of their clothing material. Meanwhile, many of Levi Strauss’ workers are impacted by more extreme weather in climate change prone areas, as the report acknowledges:
While typhoons in the Philippines and Hurricane Katrina may not have been directly caused by climate change, we do know that climate change is increasing the incidence and severity of storms, heat waves, droughts, and other extreme weather events. The communities where we work and sell our products will need to adapt to the changing weather patterns.”
Meanwhile, Levi Strauss also been advocating for stronger climate and environmental policy on Capitol Hill as one of the members of the sustainability lobby group called Innovative Climate & Energy Policy (BICEP). BICEP features twenty other retailers and brands, including: Nike, Starbucks, The Gap, and Ebay. In December 2010, former Levi Strauss chairman of the board, Richard Kauffman, even presented in front of the House Select Committee on climate change and energy independence.
Clothing companies like Levi Strauss should be commended for putting their best foot forward when addressing environmental sustainability issues. It give sense that companies are paying attention to such a serious issue plaguing society.
However, some groups like Corporate Watch have been critical towards the corporate sustainability movement, citing it as just a public relations tool to sell more products, while getting out of environmental regulations.
Still, examples like Levi Strauss show that corporate sustainability can be the way forward towards true sustainable development in a globalized world.
Source: Levi Strauss