If You Don’t Wash Your Levi’s, They Will Turn Green

While this is probably literally true, yesterday’s New York Times had a story about the efforts of the Levi Strauss company to adopt “green” practices to dramatically reduce water usage involved with making and wearing its signature blue jeans:

[A] typical pair of blue jeans consumes 919 gallons of water during its life cycle, Levi Strauss & Company says, or enough to fill about 15 spa-size bathtubs. That includes the water that goes into irrigating the cotton crop, stitching the jeans together and washing them scores of times at home. . . .

It fears that water shortages caused by climate change may jeopardize the company’s very existence in the coming decades by making cotton too expensive or scarce.

So to protect its bottom line, Levi Strauss has helped underwrite and champion a nonprofit program that teaches farmers in India, Pakistan, Brazil and West and Central Africa the latest irrigation and rainwater-capture techniques.  It has introduced a brand featuring stone-washed denim smoothed with rocks but no water. It is sewing tags into all of its jeans urging customers to wash less and use only cold water.

This should be no surprise.  But it is a little unsettling in that it provides a glance at how climate change may be dramatically changing our lives in the coming decades.

Read all about the Levi’s initiative and how other manufacturers are responding to climate change here.

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