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Michael Kobori, Levi's champion of Sustainability

Levi Strauss

For reducing, reusing, and recycling.

The 140-year-old blue-jean and khaki giant is rolling in the green. Levi's Waste < Less program, launched last spring, uses 20% recycled materials—about eight 12- to 20-ounce plastic bottles—in each garment. In the fall, Levi's Dockers brand debuted Wellthread, designed to recycle old mater­ial into new clothing and make sustainable apparel cheaper to produce.

More than 10% of Levi's clothes are made using its sustainable techniques, creating renewed vigor for the brand that's reflected in sales—but most notably in profit. Net income for the first nine months of 2013 improved 135% from the previous year, to $212 million on revenue of $3.4 billion.

"With a capsule collection, we wouldn't get the environmental impact we want," says Michael Kobori, VP of sustainability. "But by applying it across our entire line, we do. Eventually, Waste < Less and Water < Less will make up 100% of our products."

[Photo by Ian Allen]