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Product, Service & Design Innovation
P&G, Levi Strauss, Kohler Broadening Reach of Life- and Water-Saving Innovations

In honor of World Water Day, major brands are making their pioneering water-saving and -purifying innovations available for more widespread use.

Kohler Co., a global leader in the plumbing industry, has shipped the first order of its ceramic filtration system, KOHLER Clarity, to Water Mission, a nonprofit, Christian engineering organization that provides sustainable safe water solutions to people in developing countries and disaster situations. Water Mission plans to distribute the filters in small communities in Haiti, Honduras and Peru.

“Our partnership with Water Mission helps give families in Haiti, Honduras and Peru access to healthier lives,” said Tim White, business development manager for water technologies at Kohler. “It is fitting that we were able to coordinate the much-anticipated first shipment of the Clarity filters with World Water Day, and we hope to extend our work with Water Mission in Haiti, Honduras, Peru and many other countries where families lack safe water.”

The filters, assembled at Kohler’s Sheridan, Ark. facility, will travel to Water Mission’s South Carolina headquarters before being transported to their final destination. Kohler Clarity provides a unique opportunity for Water Mission to provide water filters as a household-level solution in addition to other technologies the organization uses to provide safe water to people in need.

“We currently don't have a household-level solution for providing safe and accessible drinking water, and we are excited to explore opportunities with Kohler Clarity,” explained George Greene IV, PE, president and chief operating officer of Water Mission. “The Kohler name is synonymous with the highest level of quality and design, so we know that the product is reliable. The price difference for comparable solutions, without the Kohler reputation, is significant.”

In developing countries such as Haiti, Honduras and Peru, as much as 80 percent of illnesses are linked to poor water and sanitation conditions. Water Mission’s full-time staff working in these countries will introduce the Kohler Clarity as a way of ensuring that the water people drink will not result in illness.

Meanwhile, Procter & Gamble is now making its Children’s Safe Drinking Water kits available for home use here in the States, as a tool for parents to show their children the importance of clean water and teach them about global issues related to it — including how many people lack daily access to clean drinking water, and how lack of clean water can affect their daily lives and their long-term health. Each order of P&G Purifier of Water packets (four per purchase) will donate three months' worth of clean water to a child in a developing country.

P&G says This World Water Day in Hanoi it is also launching a new partnership with the Vietnam Red Cross Society to provide clean drinking water to more communities at risk for waterborne illnesses in six provinces in Vietnam. Over the next three years, the company plans to provide more than 90 million liters of clean water during emergencies through the Vietnam Red Cross volunteer network.

And from purification to conservation: Levis Strauss & Co. announced today it is making its Water<Less™ finishing techniques available to the public in an effort to encourage water conservation and create impactful change across the apparel industry.

The techniques were introduced by the company’s designers in 2011 and reduce the water used in garment finishing by up to 96 percent. Since implementation, Water<Less™ techniques have helped the company save more than 1 billion liters of water.

“Water is a critical resource for our business, the planet and people around the globe, but usable supply is becoming increasingly scarce,” said Michael Kobori, VP of sustainability at LS&Co. “We’ve long been committed to being water stewards, but realize more needs to be done. We’re setting competition aside and encouraging others to utilize these open-source tools.”

LS&Co. is sharing 21 water-saving techniques with a range of applications for denim finishing, including ozone and wash cycle combinations. Today, by open sourcing its full range of Water<Less™ techniques with the broader public, Levi’s is encouraging all apparel companies large and small to accelerate their own innovation and engage in an open dialogue around water use in the apparel industry.

“We believe that water is too important to our industry to not share these techniques,” Kobori said. “We hope that our peers will take what we have learned and build upon it so that, as an industry, we can work together to save 50 billion liters of water by 2020.”

Today LS&Co. also shared its 2020 water-savings targets:

  • Use 100 percent sustainable cotton through sources such as Better Cotton and recycled cotton, significantly reducing its total water footprint.
  • 80 percent of all LS&Co. products will be made with Water<Less™ techniques.
  • Achieve zero discharge of hazardous chemicals through its participation in the Joint Roadmap Towards Zero Discharge of Hazardous Chemicals (ZDHC).

Levi Strauss also announced its participation in the White House Water Summit, where the company communicated its goal to train 100 percent of corporate employees on water conservation through its ongoing partnership with Project WET, a non-profit that offers water education to help people understand and value water and ensure a sustainable future.