With many now disenfranchised by government responses to issues like climate change, organisations are taking on the responsibility themselves and taking action through deploying sustainable practices.
In the clothing space, Levi Strauss & Co is leading the way, implementing strategies to dramatically reduce its water usage and create more sustainable supply chains.
Speaking at Semi Permanent in Sydney, Levi Strauss & Co. vice president sustainability Michael Kobori (pictured) reflected on how the US government’s decision to withdraw from the Paris Agreement on climate change mitigation.
“As the government has withdrawn, it’s actually caused business to step up more,” he said.
“In many ways what we’re seeing is physics – for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.
“We’re seeing the government react in a certain way and business is reacting to that and stepping up in many of these issues.”
Levi’s strong action in sustainability shows that as a company, it understands the values that its customers hold dear.
In 2017, its ‘Circles’ campaign, which celebrated inclusivity, was named by YouTube in the top 10 most watched ads of the year.
And with Gen Z on track to overtake millennials and make up one-third of the world’s population by next year and companies now looking at a younger client base, Kobori thinks notions of integrity will become increasingly valued.
“They’re very aware and they’re hyper-analytical about what really resonates and what is the truth.”
And according to Kobori, its not just Gen Z and millennials buying into these
“We’ve also now brought in VCs,” Kobori said. “There are now venture capital firms really focused on the sustainability space and the sustainable apparel space.”
“They come to us… we meet every month and talk about ‘here are the problems we’re trying to solve, here are the entrepreneurs trying to solve these problems,’ and we tell them so they can finance those entrepreneurs.
“They want a company that they’re funding to have a company like Levi’s.
“There is more and more financing available to what we would call sustainability but what investors and the financial community call impact.
“The impact investing space is getting much larger.”