The Life Cycle of a Jean (2015)

This case study looks closely at a pair of Levi Strauss & Co. stone wash jeans with the goal of helping companies in the apparel sector take more effective and holistic approaches to the industry’s environmental impact.

Primary Functions

  • Gain insight on the environmental impact of a pair of Levi’s jeans.

Detailed Description


Levi Strauss & Co. (LS&Co.) conducted the apparel industry’s first lifecycle assessment (LCA) study in 2007 to assess the entire lifecycle impact of a core set of products. The study focused primarily on the company’s U.S. operations and uncovered that the greatest water and energy impact was in two areas: cotton cultivation and consumer care.

Since then, LS&Co. has made tremendous progress addressing areas within its control, leading to more than one billion liters of water saved to date through the Levi’s® Water<LessTM  process and implementation of the apparel industry’s first water recycle/reuse standard in its supply chain. The company has also taken bold steps to reduce the environmental impact of its products in the areas outside its direct control. This includes educating consumers through its Care Tag for the Planet initiative that encourages consumers to adopt care methods that use less energy and water. LS&Co. also joined the Better Cotton Initiative® to invest in cotton that uses less water and chemicals and improves farmer livelihoods.

In an effort to dig even deeper into the ways it can reduce its global impact, LS&Co. conducted a new global lifecycle assessment study to understand consumer behaviors by market and cotton agriculture globally.

This presentation dives deeply into the findings related to a pair of Levi’s® 501® medium stone wash jeans. The goal is that these findings will help LS&Co. and others in the apparel sector take more effective and holistic approaches to our industry’s environmental impact.





Topics & SDGs


WWF Mitigation

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