Levi Strauss & Co. wants to keep cleaning up.
The eco-minded jeans and apparel brand says it’s trying to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions in its operations and throughout its supply chain, and to use less water. To get there by 2025, the company said on Thursday it has entered into a $2.3 million agreement with the International Finance Corp., a World Bank Group member that has worked with private companies on energy-saving and cost-cutting projects in the developing world.
Levi’s said it’s aiming over the next five years or so to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in its facilities by 90 percent, and by 40 percent across its supply chain. Most of its products — some 99 percent in fiscal year 2018 — are made by independent contract manufacturers, according to the company.
“We are thrilled to be partnering with the IFC to help achieve our science-based climate targets and benefit our vendors and their communities,” said Liz O’Neill, executive vice president, global product and supply chain. “We hope this program can also benefit others in the apparel industry and help reduce our collective footprint.”
Before Levi’s went public in March, it flagged the potential business impact of changing environmental policies around the world.
Among its risks, the brand listed potential regulation around climate-change legislation, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission ahead of the initial public offering. Such governmental oversight could raise its energy, production and raw material costs, the company warned in the filing.
“These laws and regulations, which may be mandatory, have the potential to impact our operations directly or indirectly as a result of required compliance by us, our suppliers and our contract manufacturers,” Levi’s said in the filing. “In addition, we may choose to take voluntary steps to mitigate our impact on climate change.”
As part of the program revealed Thursday, more than three dozen Levi’s suppliers and mills around the world, including in India, Vietnam, Mexico and Turkey, will work with International Finance to incorporate more renewable energy sources in their operations, the company said.
The arrangement builds on a 2017 tie-up between Levi’s and International Finance to work with suppliers in a few countries to cut their emissions by 20 percent, according to Levi’s. International Finance has a program called Partnership for Cleaner Textile, which works with textile factories and about a dozen apparel brands to cut their water and energy use and save in operational costs.
“As the largest global development institution, with deep sectoral and wide regional expertise, IFC is well-placed to provide support to this important and necessary initiative,” the group said in a statement Thursday about its tie-up with Levi’s.