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Levi’s inspires consumers to donate

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This fall, Levi’s becomes the first major apparel brand to carry care tags on its products around the world, encouraging people to donate unwanted clothing. The campaign was started by Goodwill and Levi’s earlier this year. ‘A Care Tag for Our Planet’, was designed to divert billions of pounds of unwanted clothing from landfills. Levi’s jeans now feature a care tag that encourages all owners to donate unwanted clothing to Goodwill. The tags are a unique vehicle for educating consumers about how to care for their clothes responsibly.

The donations of gently-used clothing and other items are sold in Goodwill stores, where the revenues help fund job training programmes, employment placement services and other community-based programmes for people with disabilities, those who lack education or job experience, and those facing other challenges to finding employment.

“As a company built on values, we have long worked hard to promote sustainability in how we make our products and run our operations,” said John Anderson, President and Chief Executive Officer of . “This initiative uses our global voice to empower hundreds of millions of consumers around the world to join us by providing simple and actionable ways to help care for our planet.”

The care tag initiative aims to increase the life cycle of Levi’s jeans and other clothing. It came at the heels of a life cycle assessment on a pair of Levi’s 501 jeans, which uncovered the following surprising yet critical fact. One of the greatest environmental impacts takes place after the jeans leave the store, and that is consumer washing and drying of the jeans.

This revelation led Levi Strauss & Co. to broaden the discussion on environmental sustainability to its consumers. From July 2010, Levi’s products around the world will have care label instructions to `wash cold`, `line dry` and `donate when no longer needed`.

In addition to the care tag, Levi’s stores in Asia ran successful jeans swap programmes last year. The campaign saw Levi’s consumers donating close to 400,000 pairs of used jeans. These were either given a new life through partnership with a local non-profit organization, or donated to communities in needed. Following its successful debut, the jeans exchange program returns to Asia this year as Levi’s Forever Blue.

“Through the Levi’s Forever Blue campaign, our consumers in Asia are showing that they will do what they can to minimize their environmental footprint,” said Tod Gimbel, Senior Director for Corporate Affairs, Asia Pacific Division, Levi Strauss & Co. “The care tag is another way of involving our consumers in the simple act of donating unwanted jeans and making a significant positive impact on the society and the environment.”

For more than two decades, Levi Strauss & Co. has been a leader on environmental issues. The company was the first to establish requirements for suppliers, guidelines on water quality, and restrictions on the substances that can be used to make its clothes. To determine where even greater environmental improvements could be made, the company studied every stage in the life cycle of a typical pair of 501 jeans.

The findings indicated that one of the greatest opportunities for reducing climate change and water impact happens after consumers take their jeans home. That’s why, in addition to asking consumers to donate used clothing to keep it out of landfills, Levi’s is encouraging consumers to wash less, wash in cold water and line dry when possible, all of which together reduces climate impact from washing and drying by more than 50 percent.