SUSTAINABILITY IN STYLE: Designers, conservationists and philanthropists shared their thoughts on how to promote sustainable design at a symposium held Wednesday night at Levi’s showroom in West Hollywood, Calif. Moderated by Ben Goldhirsh, chief executive officer of Good, the panel included Gary White from Water.org, urban planner Jane Choi, Levi’s senior vice president Erik Joule and the next generation of environmental activists: Vincent Stanley, who’s the nephew of Patagonia founder Yvon Chouinard, and Alexandra Cousteau, granddaughter of nautical explorer Jacques Cousteau. All grappled with the challenge of what Joule described as “the balance of profits and principle.” Even under pressure to cut costs, Levi’s has been taking steps that help both the bottom line and the environment, such as readying the spring 2013 release of cotton jeans blended with polyester made of recycled plastic bottles and food trays, Joule said. Indeed, Stanley, who heads Patagonia’s marketing department and co-wrote with Chouinard a green business book, called “A Responsible Company,” to be released May 1, said designers play a crucial role in sustainability as 90 percent of a product’s environmental impact is determined at the design stage. While limiting the packaging on jeans can save Levi’s anywhere between 35 cents and $1 a pair, Joule acknowledged that branding and capitalism can get a boost through showing the ways a company is trying to be sustainable. “Sustainability doesn’t drive consumption,” he said. “However, transparency…actually drives brand desire, which can drive consumption.”

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