Levi's Go Public with their Waterless Techniques
All of life's greatest pleasures come at a price. We are destined to live with the unalterable fact that anything we truly cherish must inevitably have a downside. Whatever it is that rocks your particular world you can be sure that it is bad for you, offends someone else or threatens the future of the planet.
For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction
This is a universal truth which cannot be denied. Chocoholics get fat, budding guitarists infuriate the neighbours, football fans love the game but hate each other. It doesn't matter what you do, life is going to piss on your parade. Now you may think that this unfortunate situation couldn't possibly apply to your jeans. But you would be wrong!
It's Good to Share
The mass production of jeans has been responsible for consuming huge volumes of water. Yep jeans are a threat to the planet's resources! Their enduring popularity has ensured that production has been slowly drinking the planet dry and so something had to be done. When it comes to water conservation, Levi's have been leading the way and now the company is sharing its water conservation techniques with the rest of the world.
In recognition of World Water Day, Levi Strauss Co. has placed details of its Water < Less™ techniques in the public domain. This is, apparently, because the company wish to encourage water conservation in order to effect change across the entire industry. Alternatively it could be to generate some useful publicity!
Since implementing the new Water < Less™ techniques in 2011 the company has managed to reduce the volume of water used in garment finishing by up to 96% and has saved more than 1 billion litres of water. These techniques include water recycling, the use of ozone and potassium permanganate, the combining of desizing washes and the use of more raw denim. The full revelations can be viewed here.
Levi's has also announced its participation in the White House Water Summit where it voiced its intention to train all of its employees in water conservation. The company is now determined to set competition aside by encouraging others to examine its open source document. Levi's is sharing 21 water saving techniques which it hopes all apparel manufacturers will use and build on. Wouldn't it have been cool of there were 501?
The impact of jeans on water supplies is not confined to the production process but is a factor throughout the life cycle of the clothing. For this reason, Levi's is also hoping to influence the behaviour of consumers. This desire has resulted in the creation of the company's Care Tag for Our Planet which can now be found on all Levi Strauss products.
This label provides care instructions which help consumers to reduce the environmental impact of their clothing. The label encourages people to wash their jeans less often, to use cold water and to line dry rather than tumble dry. The Care Tag for Our Planet also asks that unwanted jeans are donated to charity rather than consigned to the bin. This message should reduce the volume of denim which ends up in landfill.
Levi's determination to promote environmentally friendly practices is laudable and may well prove to have a significant impact on both denim production processes and consumer behaviour. Whether it will improve the popularity of Levi's as a brand is open to question. Whilst many denim enthusiasts are environmentally aware, others will only be interested in matters of style. Water < Less™ jeans could prove to be damp squibs if their style, fit and feel don't hit the mark. Levi's are the world's favourite jeans but methinks their popularity has never had anything to do with their earth-friendly credentials.