Quantcast

Levi Strauss Furthers Commitment to Sustainability With Responsible Sourcing Process

Business

Though Paul Dillinger knew he wanted to work in the fashion industry nearly 30 years ago when he was a teenager, he believes the industry needs more focus on sustainability.

"The fashion cycle that seeks to reinvent itself every six months? It doesn't ask, 'How do we improve the lives of the people we touch?'" the senior director of design for Levi Strauss' Dockers brand told The Guardian.

He and Levi Strauss seek to change that with the debut of the Dockers Wellthread process, by creating products with sustainable practices for manufacturing and material sourcing. The company also promises to provide social and economic benefits to factory workers in Bangladesh while creating durable khakis, jackets and T-shirts.

Dockers Senior Director of Design Paul Dillinger. Photo credit: Levi Strauss & Co.

“How you make a garment is just as important as the garment itself,” Michael Kobori, vice president of social and environmental sustainability at Levi Strauss & Co., said. "We believe that we can use our iconic brands to drive positive sustainable change and profitable results."

Levi & Strauss debuted the concept yesterday at its new innovation lab near San Francisco, CA. The company says the garments were engineered with "lasting value" by reinforcing points of stress on pants and shirts, making stronger buttonholes and more durable pockets.

With the Wellthread process, the company said it wants to:

  • Create a sustainable design increasing the durability of apparel
  • Reduce its environmental impact with the efficient use of materials, water and energy
  • Partner with factories that improve the well-being of workers

The idea was initially developed last year when Dillinger was selected for a First Movers Fellowship with the Aspen Institute. The program is designed for leaders within various industries that focus on sustainability along with growing their businesses. After that, workers began testing designs at the innovation lab, which is next to Levi Strauss' headquarters.

Before Dillinger took off for the fellowship he said, "Maybe one day, discussions of the celebrities’ red carpet choices will be go beyond daring color and revealing neckline to include the use of sustainable fibers and natural dyes."

Aspen Institute officials applaud the end result of his time in the program and the process that emerged as a result of his participation.

"The Dockers Wellthread process is a remarkable achievement for the apparel industry,” said Nancy McGaw, the founder and deputy director of the business and society program at the Aspen Institute. "The company took a risk on this groundbreaking vision and then supported it all the way through its implementation. Levi Strauss & Co. has a culture that inspires innovation.”

Initially, the line will be sold in Europe, starting this spring and serving as a pilot for further expansion.

"By having this little lab to test and substantiate ideas at small-risk scale, we're then able to deploy these new best practices at large scale," Dillinger said

Dillinger told The Guardian that he wants to weave responsibility into each stage of design, manufacturing and end-use.

"I saw all these different nodes of activity in the company that were tackling different problems," Dillinger said. "The opportunity, to me, was to string all of these ideas together and create a systems approach to change."

Visit EcoWatch’s SUSTAINABLE BUSINESS page for more related news on this topic.

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

A tropical storm above Bangkok on Aug. 04, 2016. Hristo Rusev/ NurPhoto / Getty Images

By Jeff Turrentine

First off: Bangkok Wakes to Rain, the intricately wrought, elegantly crafted debut novel by the Thai-American author Pitchaya Sudbanthad, isn't really about climate change. This tale set in the sprawling subtropical Thai capital is ultimately a kind of family saga — although its interconnected characters aren't necessarily linked by a bloodline. What binds them is their relationship to a small parcel of urban land on which has variously stood a Christian mission, an upper-class family house, and a towering condominium. All of the characters have either called this place home or had some other significant connection to it.

Read More Show Less
orn_france / iStock / Getty Images

By Susan McCabe, BSc, RD

Dioscorea alata is a species of yam commonly referred to as purple yam, ube, violet yam, or water yam.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Left: MirageC / Moment / Getty Images Right: Pongsak Tawansaeng / EyeEm / Getty Images

By Lizzie Streit, MS, RDN, LD

Sole water is water saturated with pink Himalayan salt.

Read More Show Less
People march to TCF Bank Stadium to protest against the mascot for the Washington Redskins before the game against the Minnesota Vikings on Nov. 2, 2014 at TCF Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Hannah Foslien / Getty Images

Maine Gov. Janet Mills signed a bill into law Thursday banning public schools or universities in the state from using Native American mascots, names or imagery. Mills' action will make Maine the first state in the nation with such a ban once it goes into effect later this year, The Bangor Daily News reported.

Read More Show Less
A man protests against the use of disposable plastics outside the Houses of Parliament on March 28 in London. John Keeble / Getty Images

Plastic pollution across the globe is suffocating our planet and driving Earth toward catastrophic climatic conditions if not curbed significantly and immediately, according to a new report by the Center for International Environmental Law (CEIL).

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Gov. Jay Inslee (D-WA) testifies during a House Energy and Commerce Environment and Climate Change Subcommittee hearing on Capitol Hill on April 2 in Washington, DC. Zach Gibson / Getty Images

By Julia Conley

A new climate action plan put forth by Democratic presidential candidate Gov. Jay Inslee on Thursday is being praised for highlighting the enormous benefits that would result from a rapid shift in the U.S. to a renewable energy economy that centers on the needs of workers and vulnerable communities.

Read More Show Less

Mitshu / E+ / Getty Images

By Alina Petre, MS, RD (CA)

Veganism is a way of living that tries to minimize animal exploitation and cruelty.

Read More Show Less

6okean / iStock / Getty Images Plus

A federal judge ruled this week that the Food and Drug Administration must begin implementing regulations for the many types of e-cigarettes now on the market in the U.S.

Read More Show Less