“Closing the loop” on clothing has been one of the hottest trends in CSR this year, with brands like H&M, American Eagle and even Overstock.com offering easy ways for consumers to donate unwanted clothing and divert waste from landfills. But it can difficult to communicate the impacts of such programs in a way the everyday consumer can understand. Levi Strauss & Co. is taking its longstanding commitment to clothing recycling one step forward, creating a stadium-sized visualization of impact.
Levi’s has long been a proponent of giving clothing a second lease on life. In 2009, the brand launched the “Care Tag for Our Planet” partnership with Goodwill to create a daily reminder – right on the care tag for each pair of jeans – to donate the items when they are no longer needed. Now, to show the impact of this partnership, Levi’s is creating a “Field of Jeans.” Last weekend, San Francisco 49ers fans were invited to bring unwanted jeans and clothing to the Levi’s stadium or to Goodwill stores in exchange for a Levi’s coupon. The 15,500 unwanted pairs of jeans donated as a result of the effort will now go to form an actual “Field of Jeans” on the stadium field. A Levi’s blog post describes how the effort will “serve as a unique visual representation of the tremendous impact we can all make by coming together to donate instead of trashing used textiles.” Beyond the sheer size of the display, Levi’s will reinforce how the donated items will actually create jobs and boost the economy in the San Francisco area, highlighting how nonprofit partner, Goodwill, has already diverted more than 42 million pounds of textiles from local landfills last year and helped more than 1,000 people find jobs in the Bay Area alone.
Helping consumers understand how their actions contribute to overall impact on the environment and society in a clear and compelling way can be difficult, but doing so is crucial for participation. Levi’s campaign not only reinforces the company’s commitment to “closing the loop,” but brings consumers along for the journey, showing them how they can make a difference. Sometimes it takes a stadium-sized reminder to show how all of our little actions can ladder up to greater impact.