- Danielle Wightman-Stone |
Denim brand Levi Strauss and Co has announced the launch of its LS&Co. Collaboratory, an annual fellowship programme for “socially and environmentally conscious entrepreneurs” who are looking to create a more sustainable apparel industry.
This first-of-its-kind fellowship programme will have a curriculum designed by the Aspen Institute Business and Society Program in partnership with Good Corps, a strategy and design team that develops initiatives to create social impact, and aims to bring together innovators and designers who are working to advance sustainability in the apparel industry.
“As an industry, we need to make sustainability a top priority and this means coming together to tackle the big social and environmental issues of our time,” said Chip Bergh, president and chief executive of LS&Co. “The LS&Co. Collaboratory embeds the principles we’ve followed over the last 163 years to help foster the next generation of designers and entrepreneurs so that together we can build an apparel industry that restores the environment and protects our most vital resources.”
Levi’s looking for socially and environmentally conscious entrepreneurs” for LS&Co. Collaboratory fellowship
Each year, the LS&Co. Collaboratory will focus on a specific social or environmental issue facing the industry from textile waste to water shortages and even workers’ rights. For this year, the focus is on ‘Water Less’ techniques, and the initial fellowship programme will target entrepreneurs who are interested in developing new technologies and methodologies to understand and reduce their water footprint.
“Water is a critical resource, not only for the apparel industry, but for our planet and society as a whole,” explains Nancy McGaw, deputy director of the Aspen Institute Business and Society Program. “It is critical that the non-profit and private sector come together to create impactful and lasting change across the industry. With LS&Co., we are setting the stage for a new generation of sustainably-minded apparel leaders who will define the new industry standard and we’re proud to be part of this important initiative.”
The fellows will have the opportunity to work at LS&Co.’s Eureka Innovation Lab in San Francisco and will work alongside established leaders in design, innovation and sustainability to accelerate their water sustainability ideas. In addition to the workshop, fellows may receive up to 50,000 dollars in funding to implement their solutions.
The programme is open to leaders of profit and non-profit organisations. The 2016 fellows, which will be a group of eight to ten people, will be announced later this summer.
Image: LS&Co. Collaboratory website