By Sarah Miller
Making clothes is a dirty business, but Levi’s, one of America’s oldest clothing brands, has bowed to an international campaign from Greenpeace and is now committed to changing its filthy ways. By the middle of 2013, the company is requiring its 15 largest manufacturers — mostly in China, Mexico, and South America — to disclose their pollution output. And by 2020, the idea is have its entire operation free of hazardous chemicals. So we only have seven more years of the world’s largest jeans company pumping scary acronyms like APEOs and PFCs into the ground and water supply.
If Levi’s comes through on its promise, Greenpeace should pat itself on the back. The organization focused on Levi’s in its recent detox initiative campaign, and Levi’s frickin’ deserved it, having dumped some rather nasty shit into its wastewater in Mexico (and having been busted for it). What’s amazing is that, based on this video, a lot of the campaign seems to have revolved around shit like street art and dressing up as Green Man. And yet it worked! Let this be a lesson to you to only do protests that are kind of dumb.
Levi’s is not the only brand that uses gnarly chemicals, nor is it the only one to put a smiling eco face (Waste<less denim! Water<less denim! We make stuff out of old plastic bottles!) on its business-as-usual practices. It’s not even the first company to cave to pressure from this Greenpeace campaign. But it is a giant, iconic brand that needs to stay classy to succeed, so we’re hoping it keeps its money where its mouth is.