Finance & Investing

Levi Strauss weaves sustainability into its financial DNA

Not many sustainability executives know their chief financial officer by name — but at world-famous apparel brand Levi Strauss, the CFO and chief sustainability officer came onstage at GreenBiz 17 to discuss how environmental leadership is a core part of the business. 

The family-owned company, which has been around for over 160 years, has a "long history of driving profits through principle," said CFO Harmit Singh. Bonus points if it impacts the company's bottom line. 

Sing became a "believer" in sustainability about three years ago, when it was integrated into Levi's risk management strategy. Now, the brand manufactures products such as jeans that use 96 percent less water, which cost less and drive margins. 

It's helpful when management and company owners are supportive, said Michael Kobori, vice president of social and environmental sustainability. And at Levi's, it's easy to quantify the financial value of sustainability investments.