Have you ever considered the environmental impact of your favorite pair of blue jeans? When it comes to water use, it’s a lot. Levi Strauss and Co. says the typical pair of jeans consumes 919 gallons of water during its life cycle. Growing cotton for blue jeans accounts for 49 percent of the water used, more than all of the washings blue jeans go through after they are bought.
One of the largest demin producers in the world wants to cut the eco-footprint of its blue jeans. Levi Strauss is releasing two million pairs of jeans made with sustainably grown cotton. The Levi’s and Denizen jeans are made with Better Cotton, grown as part of the Better Cotton Initiative that reduces the environmental impact of cotton farming and improves the lives of farmers.
Levi’s joined the Better Cotton Initiative in 2009 along with retailers GAP, Adidas and IKEA. The non-profit group promotes water conservation, reduced pesticide use and encourages better working conditions for cotton farmers and laborers. A recent study found Better Cotton farming techniques raised farmers’ profits by up to 69 percent and reduced water and pesticide use by one-third.
Five percent of the cotton used in Levi’s Better Cotton jeans hitting stores this fall was grown using sustainable methods. The New York Times reports the company wants to increase that number to 20 percent by 2015. Last year, Levi Strauss introduced a line of blue jeans called ‘Water<Less’ jeans. The manufacturing process of Water<Less use an average of 28 percent less water, in some products up to 96 percent less water.