As one of the highest scoring brands in the 2023 Scorecard, Levi’s has taken critical initial steps to set itself on the path to tackling its negative climate impact, including having a near-term emissions reduction target for its supply chain, committing to phase out coal-fired boilers from its supply chain by 2030, and reducing its reliance on fossil fuel based fabrics. The company reported incentivising the coal phase-out with suppliers by signing long-term contracts with them and providing financial support to pursue a renewable energy transition. Thanks to its efforts, emissions of purchased goods and services from Levi’s showed a 38.1% drop from 2019 to 2021. However, the company needs to move faster to reduce shipping-related emissions. It is essential that Levi’s includes upstream transportation and distribution emissions into its GHG reduction targets and commits to zero emission vessels. If Levi’s wants to meet its climate goals, it should prioritise action on the international stage in advocating for key renewable energy infrastructure in key manufacturing countries.
Key Findings for Levi’s
Levi’s has set an emissions reduction target for its own operations of 90% by 2025 from a 2016 base year, which is in line with keeping warming below 1.5°C.
The company has also set an emissions reduction target for its supply chain of 40% by 2025 from a 2016 base year. This near-term target is a strong signal of its intent to reduce supply chain emissions now.
Levi’s has set a renewable energy target in its own operations of 100% by 2025, but it will be a mix of RECs and energy that is additional to the grid.
Levi’s has yet to set a target of 100% renewable energy for its supply chain by 2030, which is an essential step for decarbonising its manufacturing.
Coal phase out:
As a signatory of the renewed UN Fashion Charter, Levi’s has committed to phasing out coal-fired boilers from its supply chain by 2030 to reduce air pollution and cut emissions.
Levi’s publicly reports GHG emissions in its own operations, and in its supply chain. The company does provide a full breakdown of its Scope 3 emissions.
Levi’s does publicly report its energy use for its own operations, including a breakdown of its renewable energy use and how that energy is sourced.
For its supply chain, Levi’s does not publicly report its energy use, a breakdown of its suppliers’ renewable energy use, or how that energy is sourced.
Levi’s provides a partial supplier list including an interactive supply chain map to Tier 2.
Levi’s does provide its suppliers with training and resources to help them make energy efficiency improvements, including working with suppliers under the Partnership for Cleaner Textile (PaCT) program run by the International Finance Corporation. Levi’s does report providing its major suppliers with financial incentives for energy efficiency measures, including providing discounted financing rates for suppliers with low-carbon investment plans, but it does not require them to make energy savings as a condition of contract.
Levi’s does not require suppliers to reduce thermal coal demand in their manufacturing processes, but it incentivises the phase out by signing long-term contracts to those suppliers who make the necessary investment to phase out coal.
Levi’s does report providing its suppliers with training and resources to help them transition to renewable energy, including supporting suppliers participating under the PaCT, and offers some additional financing support through the same mechanism. The company does not require suppliers to use renewable energy as a condition of contract.
Levi’s does require its suppliers to disclose GHG emissions data, and reports that suppliers representing approximately 80% of its production volume have completed the Higg FEM and collects data from the rest with surveys. It does not require them to set GHG emissions reduction targets but does report working with a section of suppliers to develop climate and water roadmaps and targets.
Levi’s has not made any commitments to phase out fossil fuel based materials, but it uses only a small amount of polyester and synthetic fibers in its material mix.
Levi’s has made a public policy to ban the sourcing of leather from the Amazon Biome.
Levi’s has not committed to increasing closed-loop apparel-to-apparel recycling for synthetics. Levi’s has not committed to reduce the impact of its raw materials sourcing by switching to 100% organic cotton or cotton sourced from regenerative agriculture by 2030. Levi’s reports that 83% of its cotton is from BCI suppliers, organic cotton farms, or recycled cotton suppliers, with the goal of having 100% of its cotton supply come from “preferred” or “more sustainable sources” by 2030, but does not provide any further detail on the breakdown of volume of cotton it is currently sourcing.
Levi’s is acting slowly to increase circularity, including planning to develop a path towards a circular product line by 2026. Currently Levi’s has launched several limited initiatives to increase product longevity and increase recycling; Levi’s Wellthread line of apparel is designed to be fully recyclable, and select Global Flagship Stores now offer repair services limited vintage resale, but it is not clear how these initiatives will impact production.
Levi’s does publicly report its material mix, but it does not report the volume of materials. It does not report its volume of deadstock or how it manages or disposes of its deadstock to reduce waste.
Levi’s does report its shipping emissions annually, but does not have a target to reduce GHG emissions from transportation and does not provide a breakdown of its transportation methods.
Levi’s does report having a policy to avoid aviation and commit to slower shipping methods such as maritime, rail and land. The company also has a near-term plan to ship its cargo via cleaner methods, including working with Maersk to ship some containers with cleaner fuels. But It reported a 37.5% increase in its upstream transportation and distribution emissions between 2019 and 2021.
Levi’s has not committed to transitioning to zero emissions vessels (ZEV) by 2030, or used its voice publicly to advocate for Zero Emission Shipping, although it is a member of the SFC’s Clean Cargo Working Group. Levi’s also joined Ceres and other leading companies in successfully advocating for state-level policy to accelerate the deployment of and transition to zero-emission trucks and other medium- and heavy-duty vehicles.
Levi’s has yet to commit to transitioning its last mile delivery to zero emission vehicles.
Levi’s was relatively active during the 2023 Scorecard period in advocating within the United States: Levi’s joined a discussion at LEAD with Ceres, U.S. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, other business leaders, and lawmakers calling for U.S. federal climate and clean energy policy to meet the urgency and scale of the climate crisis. Levi’s supported the Inflation Reduction Act which included investments related to reducing climate related risks to the economy. The company’s CEO, along with 6 other business CEOs, called on U.S. Congressional leaders for ambitious federal climate legislation. Levi’s should prioritise action on the international stage in advocating for renewable energy growth in supply chain regions.
More About Levi’s
EngagementLevi’s provided feedback on the 2023 Scorecard
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- “2021 Levi Strauss & Co. Sustainability Report,” September 2022. https://www.levistrauss.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/09/LSCo.-2021-Sustainability-Report.pdf.
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‘“CEOs of Major U.S. Companies Press for Ambitious Federal Climate Package as Key Senators Negotiate,” July 11, 2022. https://www.ceres.org/news-center/press-releases/ceos-major-us-companies-press-ambitious-federal-climate-package-key.
- “Clean Cargo Members,”, https://www.smartfreightcentre.org/en/clean-cargo-members/.
- “Climate Action,”, https://www.levistrauss.com/sustainability-report/climate/climate-action/.
- “COP26: Businesses Urge World Leaders to Keep 1.5°C Alive – We Mean Business Coalition,” 2021. https://www.wemeanbusinesscoalition.org/g20-2021/.
- “Levi Strauss & Co. CDP,” 2020.
- “Levi Strauss & Co. CDP,” 2021.
- “Levi Strauss & Co. CDP,” 2022.
- “LS&Co. Invests in Renewable Wind Energy,” October 19, 2022. https://www.levistrauss.com/2022/10/19/lsco-invests-in-renewable-wind-energy/.
- “Map of Supplier Facilities,”, https://www.levistrauss.com/sustainability-report/community/supplier-map/.
- “Partnering with the IFC to Meet 2025 Climate Goals,” June 27, 2019. https://www.levistrauss.com/2019/06/27/partnering-with-the-ifc-to-meet-2025-climate-goals/.