Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Water Scarcity and Cotton

Levi Strauss fears that due to climate change in the near future cotton could become too expensive or scarce, which would jeopardize the company’s very existence. In an attempt to quell this fear the company has begun a nonprofit program to teach farmers in India, Pakistan, Brazil and West and Central Africa in the latest irrigation/rain-water capture techniques.

They have also introduced a new jean that is smoothed with rocks but no water, and are also sewing in tags urging consumers to wash less and use cold water.

In 2005 nongovernmental as well as cotton industry organizations, and some giant retailers including Ikea, Gap and Adidas founded the international nonprofit ‘Better Cotton Initiative’ in order to promote water conservation, reduce pesticides use as well as child labor in the cotton industry. In 2009 Levi Strauss joined the initiative and has since given a combined $600,000 towards the initiative.

A program known as the Carbon Disclosure Program (CDP) has also recently added water security to its priorities, as nearly 40 percent of businesses have already reported that water problems had detrimentally impacted their business. The CDP is working to catalyze a global movement towards sustainable corporate water stewardship to safeguard water resources and address the global water crisis; one of the most significant challenges facing our global economy today.

 Credit: Carbon Disclosure Program

Resources: The New York Times online Sruthi Gottipati contributed reporting from Shelu, India.

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