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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]