Business

Levi’s sets ambitious new climate action strategy

by Danielle Wightman-Stone
1 Aug 2018

Denim apparel giant Levi’s has announced a set of ambitious targets to reduce carbon emissions across its owned-and-operated facilities and global supply chain by 2025 in a new climate action strategy.

What it is calling “aggressive targets” in a press statement, the climate action strategy is aimed at slashing the environmental impact of the apparel firm’s factories worldwide as well as its third-party factories by reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

By 2025, the denim brand has stated it wants to cut its greenhouse gas emissions in all owned-and-operated facilities by 90 percent, which it says it will achieve by investing in onsite renewable energy and energy efficiency upgrades, including using 100 percent renewable electricity across its company-owned facilities.

The brand notes that while it has a strong track record of reducing carbon emissions in its own operations, it said in a press release, “the most significant climate impact—and the most difficult to tackle—lies within the apparel industry’s global supply chain,” which is why it has set it self ambitious targets to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent in its supply chain.

To achieve its climate targets in third-party factories, Levi’s said it would be working with key suppliers to expand the International Finance Corporation’s Partnership for Cleaner Textiles (IFC PaCT) globally. The IFC PaCT is an innovative public-private partnership that provides suppliers with technical expertise and access to low-cost financing to support sustainable energy and water investments.

“We believe that business has the opportunity and the responsibility to be a force for positive change in the world,” said Chip Bergh, president and chief executive officer of Levi Strauss and Co in a press statement. “We are proud to be one of the first companies to set science-based targets for our global supply chain, and we hope to be an inspiration for others to follow.”

Levi’s pledges to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in all owned-and-operated facilities by 90 percent

The company’s science-based targets are part of the company’s efforts to make the global apparel industry more sustainable have been approved by the Science Based Targets initiative, which provides companies with what it calls a “clearly defined way” to help prevent climate change by specifying how much, and how quickly, they need to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions.

Targets are considered “science-based” if they are in line with the level of decarbonisation required to keep global temperature increase below 2 degrees Celsius compared to pre-industrial temperatures.

Cynthia Cummis, director of private sector climate mitigation at the World Resources Institute (WRI), one of the Science Based Targets initiative partners, added: “Levi Strauss & Co. has set an ambitious science-based target aligned with the Paris Agreement for its operations and value chain, which will help bring energy efficiency and renewable energy to its suppliers in developing markets.

“The company’s targets represent the kind of forward-thinking innovation that the fashion industry needs, and are a model for business success in a low-carbon world.”

In the action plan, Bergh calls it a “roadmap” that he hopes will inspire others across the industry, while adding: “As a company, we are committed to advocating for strong climate policies and taking significant action to reduce our climate impact. We believe it is our responsibility, both as a corporate citizen and a sustainability leader, to continue setting an example for the future of responsible business.”

The proposals add to its global climate targets announced in 2012 to achieve by 2020, which including reducing greenhouse gas emissions across its owned and operated facilities by 25 percent. In the report it says that it is “on track” to exceed those climate targets and in 2017, it achieved a 25 percent reduction in emissions from its 2012 base year, exceeding its target ahead of schedule, and used 20 percent renewable energy.

Concluding the report, Levi’s said: “If left unchecked, climate change will have significant impacts on the communities in which we operate, and the world at large. Setting and driving toward ambitious science-based targets will require cross-sector and industry collaboration.

“Ambitious targets motivate action, and climate action is what our planet needs.”

Images: Levi’s Facebook