Levi’s suppliers will increase renewable energy and reduce water use in a bid to cut emissions. © AFP/Getty Images
Levi’s suppliers will increase renewable energy and reduce water use in a bid to cut emissions. © AFP/Getty Images

'Sustainability drives better business performance'

Businesses need to reduce environmental impacts in supply chains because “better sustainability performance drives better business performance”, according to Levi Strauss & Co. 

Levi’s has partnered with the International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank, in a $2.3m agreement to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and water use in the Levi’s supply chain. 

The deal will support 42 Levi’s suppliers to increase renewable energy and reduce water use in a bid to cut emissions across 10 countries including Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, India, Mexico, Lesotho, Colombia, Turkey, Egypt, and Vietnam. This follows a pilot programme Levi’s ran with IFC in 2017.

This will help meet 2025 sustainability targets Levi’s has set, including a 90% reduction of GHG emissions in their facilities, 100% use of renewable energy in their facilities, and a 40% reduction of GHG emissions across the global supply chain.

Michael Kobori, vice president of sustainability at Levi’s, said: “Better sustainability performance drives better business performance.

“Vendors in resource-stressed countries have shown the ability to innovate based on conditions on the ground, but in some cases, they need some assistance to make it work.”

Separately, the Cooperative Group has announced new commitments to lower direct GHG emissions by 50% by 2025. Plans to enable reductions include the use of natural refrigerants and leveraging responsible sourcing to prevent environmental impacts, such as sustainable soy. 

Michael Fletcher, chief commercial officer at Co-op Retail, said: “Accelerating action is the only way to mitigate and reduce impacts on our natural world, and to ensure stable food supply chains in the future. A rolling set of publically available and reviewed stretching, short-term targets are imperative if we are to hold ourselves to account to achieve our collective longer-term ambitions.”

The Co-op halved GHG emissions between 2006-2016, and cut emissions by 20% in the last year. All stores, offices and funeral homes currently use 100% renewable electricity.

Meanwhile, the National Trust (NT) has announced new measures to ensure investment strategy, sustainability and environmental conservation aims are aligned. All investments in fossil fuel companies, which currently make up 4% of its portfolio, will be divested within three years. The charity will also support green start-up businesses and encourage investment in companies to improve their environmental performance.

Peter Vermeulen, chief financial officer at the NT, said: “Many organisations have been working hard to persuade fossil fuel companies to invest in green alternatives. These companies have made insufficient progress and now we have decided to divest from fossil fuel companies. 

“We also have a plan to phase out single use plastics from our shops and to substantially reduce it in our cafes by 2022. These are part of our commitment to a healthy and thriving natural environment.”

The charity aims to increase energy efficiency and has built its own heat pumps, hydro schemes, solar panels and wood fuel boilers in the past four years for sustainable, clean energy, said Vermeulen. 

Elsewhere, Fast Retailing, a japanese retail group and owner of Uniqlo, has announced initiatives to reduce up to 85% of single-use plastic, approximately 7,800 tons annually, in stores and eliminate unnecessary plastic across its supply chain by 2020.

Other initiatives include switching to Forest Stewardship Council-certified recyclable paper bags in 3,500 stores worldwide, selling reusable bags in Uniqlo, GU, Comptoir des Cotonniers and Princesse tam.tam stores, and replacing plastic packaging with eco-friendly alternatives.

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