Speaking at Fortune‘s Brainstorm Green conference yesterday, Levi’s CEO Chip Bergh, wearing a pair of jeans (naturally) admitted that they hadn’t been washed in a year of wears.
“We are the ultimate in sustainable apparel,” he said. He also talked up a new line of Levi’s , Wellthread, that can easily be recycled and uses less energy and water to create. (They’re available in Europe and online in the US.) And there’s a line of jeans called Waterless that use less water to get a “wash” when they’re produced.
These comments come at a good time. Climate change is in the news daily. Despite the number of people out there still denying the very clear science that says, yes, this is a fact and it’s happening, addressing the issue in some way is smart. People ready to act on the global warming crisis will be happy for the opportunity to purchase products that do something to help. A sustainable message right now is a very relevant one; it’s good for business, good for the brand, and, hopefully, good for the Earth.
Just a couple of weeks ago, we all got wind of a definitive report, the National Climate Assessment, saying that climate change is a reality and we’re feeling the effects now. On the day that it was announced, President Obama went to local meteorologists to build a sense of urgency among Americans. Just yesterday, we got word that this April was the hottest ever on record. With an average temperature of 58.1 degrees Fahrenheit, April 2014 was 1.39 degrees hotter than the average for the last century.
Since at least 2011, Levi’s has been talking about washing their jeans less, so they’ve been talking about sustainability for a while. They’ve even recommended putting jeans in the freezer if you’re concerned about bacteria.
And the most die-hard denim enthusiasts, like those who wear raw denim, have made a whole science of wearing and washing jeans.
“One person has gone 15 years without washing their prized Levis, while another conducted an experiment with a human biology professor that revealed normal levels of bacteria in his jeans after 15 months of wear. Apparently changing underwear regularly is key,” says the Daily Dot.
So Bergh’s message for Levi’s is one that touches not only those who are looking for ways in everyday life to be a bit more eco-friendly, but those who would be willing to pay a lot extra for a pair of jeans that would meet their demanding standards.
Image via @Levis