Levis To Detoxify

Maybe the system works (at least sometimes). And my ass is grateful.

As a follow-up to my lamentations about Greenpeace’s exposure of Levis for the release of hazardous chemicals in their supply chain, Myriam Fallon of Greenpeace just sent me the news release below.

Note: Levis agrees to eliminate the release of chemicals, as opposed to the use of hazardous chemicals, but you have to start somewhere. In the meantime, I am hoping to test drive some sample clothing made from recycled cotton and plastic soda bottles (seriously).

Another note: Not Gore-Tex too! Maybe Adam and Eve had it right that a few strategically placed leaves is the way to go.

Finally, Greenpeace’s news:

Levi’s bows to global people power: bans toxic fashion

World’s largest denim retailer commits to going toxic free and ensuring transparency in its supply chain

San Francisco, December 13th, 2012 – Levi’s, the world’s largest denim brand, has committed to eliminate all releases of hazardous chemicals throughout its entire supply chain and products by 2020, following public pressure in response to Greenpeace’s global Detox campaign.

“Now more than ever, we are seeing brands such as Levi’s listen to the groundswell of support for toxic-free fashion,” said Greenpeace Toxics Campaigner John Deans. “Now it’s  time for other brands such as Calvin Klein, Gap, and Victoria’s Secret to  follow Levi’s lead and end their toxic addiction. We’ll continue to expose brands until the use – and abuse – of hazardous substances is totally eliminated.”

As part of its commitment, Levi’s will begin requiring 15 of its largest suppliers (each with multiple facilities) in China, Mexico and elsewhere in the Global South to disclose pollution data as early as the end of June 2013. This will be followed up with a further 25 major suppliers by the end of 2013, meaning those living near all these facilities gain crucial access to information about discharges into their local environment.

Levi’s commitment comes just eight days after Greenpeace launched its report “Toxic Threads: Under Wraps” in Mexico City on December 5th. Since then, over 210,000 people joined the campaign calling on Levi’s to Detox, with tens of thousands taking action on Facebook and Twitter. Over 700 people have protested outside Levi’s shop fronts in over 80 cities worldwide, including a demonstration yesterday in front of the company’s headquarters in San Francisco.

“Levi’s has become a global Detox leader now that it has promised to use alternatives to hazardous chemicals and make its supply chain transparent. This is a milestone in the way clothes are manufactured and a victory for people in Mexico and elsewhere who are affected by toxic water pollution every day,” added Greenpeace Mexico Toxics campaigner, Pierre Terras.

Levi’s becomes the eleventh brand to make a credible commitment to eliminate releases of all hazardous chemicals throughout its supply chains and products since Greenpeace launched its Detox campaign in 2011. A key part of the commitment is Levi’s elimination of all PFCs by the end of 2015, and a promise to lead on the adoption of PFC-free alternatives and non-hazardous chemicals by 2015.

Greenpeace’s Detox campaign demands fashion brands commit to zero discharge of all hazardous chemicals by 2020 and requires their suppliers to disclose all releases of toxic chemicals from their facilities to communities at the site of the water pollution.


Myriam Fallon, Media Officer, mfallon@greenpeace.org, 708.546.9001


1) Link to Levi’s Zero Discharge Commitment: http://levistrauss.com/sites/levistrauss.com/files/librarydocument/2012/12/levi-strauss-greenpeace-detox-solution-commitment-12-dec-2012.pdf

2) Released 5 December, Greenpeace International’s investigatory report, “Toxic Threads: Under Wraps” exposes dumping of industrial wastewater containing toxic and hazardous chemicals from two of Mexico’s biggest textile manufacturing facilities with links to brands including Levi’s. Little transparency and weak laws allow these facilities to avoid scrutiny of their manufacturing processes and documents some of the worst water pollution Greenpeace has investigated in Mexico. View report here: www.greenpeace.org/international/under-wraps

Photo and Video

Video from various Levi’s protests available here: http://comms.greenpeaceusa.org/20121206_Detox_Levis

Photos of Levi’s protests throughout the world available here:

Background on the campaign can be found here: http://www.greenpeace.org/international/en/campaigns/toxics/detox/



Is Nothing Sacred?

Damn, Levis are just about the only thing I wear. And Greenpeace says they are screwing up the environment by using hazardous chemicals in their supply chain. I’ve got to have pants, so if this is true Levis better sort it out. After all, I’ve been wearing Levis happily based on the fact that Good Guide says they are, well, “good.”

At least it looks like a fun protest.

A Market Solution For Saving Whales?

Greenpeace and Sea Shepherd confrontations with whaling fleets make for good television. But despite their efforts lots of whales still die every year (some 2000, in fact).

A minke whale is processed in Hvalskurður, Iceland. (Via WIRED. Photo: Dagur Brynjólfsson/Flickr

Environmental economists Christopher Costello, Steve Gaines, and Leah Berger think that market incentives might be a better way to reduce the numbers of whales killed every year. Writing in the January 11 issue of NATURE, they propose the equivalent of a cap and trade system for whales, which would allow conservationists to spend money on purchasing whale shares (and saving the lives of whales) in stead of spending money on chasing whaling fleets around the world’s oceans.

Here’s how WIRED describes the plan:

The proposed market would be patterned after a system known best known from fisheries management as catch shares: Sustainable harvest levels are quantified, a maximum quota established, and catch allotments put up for sale by the International Whaling Commission. Costello’s proposal would add the crucial wrinkle of allowing activists to buy shares, too. If they did, a corresponding number of whales would be removed from the quota. (Indigenous groups would receive a set number of shares to be owned in perpetuity, apart from the market — though those could conceivably be sold, too.)

According to Costello’s estimates, global whaling profits amount to $31 million, and likely less when government subsidies are removed. Mainstream anti-whaling groups — Greenpeace, Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, and the World Wildlife Fund — spend about $25 million to fight the hunts.

“This money could be used to purchase whales, arguably with the same or better effect,” write the researchers in Nature.

There is pushback over the idea that whales would continue to be treated as commodities to buy and sell, instead of exempted from human harvest because they are intelligent, social creatures.

But until humanity achieves a more enlightened and ethical understanding of the relationship between humankind and the other species on Earth–and can agree to leave whales alone–it makes sense to try any approach that actually reduces whale kills. Right now, money is what motivates mankind, so it’s an intriguing proposal.

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