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Corporations Begin to Green

In light of the recent economic downturn, small businesses have suffered in every sector of the market – this includes marketers and retailers of so-called “green” fashion statements. The environmentally conscious dresser could find everything from jeans to blouses to shoes boasting entirely green beginnings. However, these eco-brands have become fewer and father between making it difficult to find garments utilizing the once highly touted organic cotton. On the bright side, large retailers have adopted more sustainable production practices and are considering everything from water use to soil health and fair trade.

In 2006, Levi’s introduced a line of jeans using organic cotton called “EcoJeans” but shortly dropped it to develop its “Water<Less” line. A pair of Water<Less pants requires 96% less water than traditional jeans to produce, a difference of 40 litres for some styles. Levi’s is promoting efficient use of water by encouraging users to wash their jeans once every two weeks.

Other large corporations that have taken to using organic cotton and other eco-conscious production methods include Nike, Walmart, H&M and Target. Nike will construct all of its cotton based products with at lest 5% organic products by the end of 2011. In 2006, only 52% of its products utilized organic cotton. Nike also employs recycled polyester in its All Conditions Gear and only the most environmentally responsible leather suppliers.

Walmart is striving “to be supplied 100% by renewable energy, create zero waste and sell products that sustain people and the environment” while simultaneously donating money to green initiatives around the world. In October, Walmart announced its commitment to sustainable agriculture and will donate upwards of $1 billion to small and mid-sized farmers to help stimulate both small business and responsible farming methods.

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