I was looking into what makes an item of clothing green/ greener/ good for the environment/ sustainable etc… and came across “Levis Waterless Jeans“. My first thought was “Greenwash.” My greenwash train of thought focused on the following issues;
- The water and energy used in the production,packaging, transport and sale of the jeans
- The monoculture cotton plantations and the impacts on biodiversity and water
- The (very high) possibility that the denim is produced from Genetically Modified (GM) cotton
- The dyes that go into the dying of the denim. What dyes do they use, what are they made of etc….
- The water used to wash and dispose of the jeans….
My list could go on forever……
But then I decided to have a look at what Levi’s said made their jeans waterless and therefore better for the environment… and these are my thoughts:
- It seems that even though the product is not entirely green or perfectly waterless…. it does at least start to engage with the issue of water and sustainability. Maybe “WATER<LESS” is a bit of an exaggeration in this regard?
- Hopefully the product will start to get customers asking the right questions about ethical and green fashion and consumption.
- The campaign provides some facts and figures about the production process and also links the issue of water conservation with people who live in water scarce areas.
- The campaign did not adequately tackle the issue of monoculture, biodiversity and water. This is a key flaw in the campaign as the production of the cotton for the denim is a very large part of the water use debate as is the impact of monoculture agriculture on water catchements, ecosystems and our water resources. One should however note that Levis has aligned with the Better Cotton Initiative. However, I was unable to determine wether the initiative supports GM Cotton or not. The biodiversity impacts and GM issue are a key issue for me!
- The Levis Waterless Jeans are one product in the Levis range… what about the other products?