Levi Strauss & Co. (LS&Co.) announced a new water action strategy that represents an evolution in thinking around water use in a global supply chain, particularly in areas already facing water stress, and a new way to define successful water stewardship in manufacturing. It leverages the latest water science and data, consultations with leading water experts, and the company’s own water management experience and leadership over the past three decades to set a new standard for the company and the industry.
Recognizing that saving a liter of water where it is plentiful, while important, is not as critical as saving a liter where water is scarce, LS&Co. will shift from a singular “one-size-fits-all” approach to a more responsive, contextual approach to water management. This will allow LS&Co. to focus reduction efforts where they are needed most, with a goal of reducing its cumulative water use for manufacturing by 50 percent in water-stressed areas by 2025. Furthermore, the strategy is designed to increase access to clean, safe drinking water for communities in sourcing locations – and to drive collective action that delivers lasting change for surrounding communities and watersheds as well.
“We all know that water is perhaps the most critical resource on the planet and that many places, including countries the apparel industry sources from, are struggling with water crises,” said Liz O’Neill, Executive Vice President and President of LS&Co.’s Global Product, Innovation, and Supply Chain. “This announcement is an illustration of what sustainability means to us now: innovative, responsive, scalable programs that drive impact and inspire collective action to address the most pressing social and environmental issues facing our business, industry, and planet.”
first-of-its-kind approach builds on work done in the years since the 2011
launch of LS&Co.’s open-source Water
The core elements of the new strategy are as follows:
“For years WWF and Levi Strauss & Co. have worked together to improve decision making in priority basins, targeting the right actions to the right places for maximum impact. Levi’s’ new water strategy continues that ambition, moving the company beyond efficiency targets toward holistic watershed conservation,” said Sheila Bonini, World Wildlife Fund’s senior vice president of private sector engagement. “Levi Strauss & Co. is answering an urgent call for companies to embrace water stewardship – not just for business interests, but to protect water resources for everyone.”
“By considering water at each step of the value chain and bringing suppliers, customers, and investors into its strategy, Levi Strauss & Co. is taking a truly smart approach to integrating water risks and issues into its business,” said Ceres CEO and President Mindy Lubber. “With critical water shortages and degradation across the globe, we need more companies to follow Levi Strauss & Co.’s lead in implementing context-based management strategies that are good for communities and good for business.”
In areas of high-water stress, many suppliers are already making significant capital expenditures (at times with PaCT funding) to install water efficient machinery and recycle water, recognizing it as a necessary investment for their business. LS&Co. wants to support and advance these efforts because building resilience to water stress is ultimately far less costly than responding to shortages, and because water efficiency has the potential to reduce costs.
suppliers use less water, they use less energy, and save money on both.
“We believe this is the future for our company and our industry when it comes to managing water use and conserving water,” says Michael Kobori, VP of Sustainability at LS&Co. “Given the water context in many countries, we have to act quickly and wisely. We feel this strategy does both, while delivering benefits to numerous stakeholders in our business and in supply chain communities around the world.”
Source: Levi Strauss & Co.