25 Mar '16, 8pm
Why is Levi's open-sourcing its water-saving technology? We spoke with Michael Kobori
made a bold move. Borrowing a page from the tech industry, the denim giant went public with its “Water<Less” process —the same water-squeezing finishing techniques that it has honed for the past nine years. Trade secrets, the company reasoned, have no place in a drying world. If the rest of the apparel industry can learn and build upon its innovations, it could rack up water savings of at least 50 billion liters by 2020—enough to supply every family in New Orleans for a year. Ecouterre caught up with Michael Kobori, vice president of social and environmental sustainability at Levi Strauss & Co., to talk about the company’s trail-blazing decision, its obsession with water footprints , and why it’s mandating water education for all of its employees.