Levi’s has been on the sustainability bandwagon for some time, with a line called Water<Less that, as the name implies, uses less water, and a program that helps the brand’s cotton farmer partners in India employ more efficient irrigation techniques. However, that didn’t stop Greenpeace from attacking other aspects of the brand’s production process, involving the use of chemicals like PFCs and the disclosure of wastewater discharge. (Both are fairly standard in clothing production; Levi’s isn’t unique for either issue.)
Because of their recent accord with Greenpeace, Levi’s will begin disclosing wastewater discharge information from 40 global suppliers by the end of 2013. By the end of 2015, they’ll also stop using PFCs, which make fabric breathable and stain resistant, but are bioaccumulative and toxic to lab animals and wildlife (and thus presumably humans).
New best practices in clothing production seem to be originating most often with denim — a number of high-end Italian producers have also updated their businesses to recycle dye and find a use for unavoidable waste. Now that our jeans are getting better for us and the environment, what clothing item’s going to be next?