On My Desk - Flex Canvas Pants Life Cycle Assessment

Where We've Been & Where We're Headed

Abby here - Product Manager and Head of Sustainability.

Last year was an incredible year for LIVSN. We launched new products, raised fresh investment, produced an award-winning film, and launched our very own secondhand marketplace selling Well Worn Gear. We’re stepping into 2024 with the same passion for quality product and the pursuit of sustainability that we’ve had since the beginning.

At LIVSN, we’ve always strived to make products that have a right to exist - products, that is, that are worth the resources they eat up in order to exist. As we grow, we recognize the importance of growing our efforts in sustainability. More on economic and social factors including fair pricing and pay to come, but today, we’re looking at the environmental side of things as we venture into our very first LIVSN Life Cycle Assessment for our signature Flex Canvas Pants.

What is a Life Cycle Assessment?

A Life Cycle Assessment quantifies the relative environmental impact of a product’s life. Simply(ish) put, it comes down to the physical impact of a product’s production, use, and end-of-life divided by that product’s function in the world.

Impact / Function = Relative Environmental Impact

Measuring Impact

Worldly, one the industry’s leading impact data analytics platforms, assesses product impact in the following areas:

  • Global warming
  • Nutrient pollution in water (eutrophication)
  • Water Scarcity
  • Resource Depletion
  • Chemistry

These areas are assessed at every step of the product’s life, including:

  • Raw material source
  • Yarn formation
  • Textile formation
  • Preparation for dyeing
  • Dyeing
  • Cut-and-sew
  • Packaging
  • Logistics
  • Retail
  • Use/Care
  • Reuse/Recycling/End-of-Life

This impact data will be relatively new to us in 2024. We’ve already begun to dive in to find data-based answers to hard questions along our supply chain and we look forward to publishing the results as soon as they are available.

Measuring Function

The impact data we’re gathering will be tremendously useful. However, it doesn’t mean much when separated from function. At the end of the day, a product’s function should be at least proportional to its physical impact.

This means that if you wear our pants twice as much as another pair of pants with the exact same impact score, our pants are twice as sustainable (for lack of a more accurate word).

If you wear our pants twice as much as another pair of pants with half the impact score, our pants are just as sustainable.

Pursuing true, meaningful sustainability (and yes, it is a pursuit, not just a box to be ticked) is about maximizing function along with minimizing impact. A few ways we think about maximizing function are:

  • Functional versatility - How functional is the product? Can it perform many functions or serve its function in many environments?
  • Physical durability - How long does the product remain intact and functional? Can it withstand tough conditions?
  • Emotional durability - How long does the product remain emotionally relevant? Will it go out of style quickly or will it be worn for many years?
  • Repairability - Is the product designed to be repaired or is it made in a way that is difficult to repair failures? Is the infrastructure in place to have the product repaired?
  • Recyclability - At the end of its first life, can the product be recycled into something new? Is the infrastructure in place for recycling the product?

The functional side of things is where we - and many passionate small brands with limited leverage in the global supply chain - have always shined. The decisions we make in the design, sourcing, production, and even marketing processes impact a product’s function, but the pudding that holds the proof of function is in our customers’ hands (sorry for the gross visual).

How You Can Help

We have qualitative evidence that our products work harder and last longer than their peers, but we’re hoping to quantify this feedback for a more accurate assessment as part of our LCA. We currently have a survey out to Men’s Flex Canvas Pants owners.

If you own - or have ever owned - a pair of Flex Canvas Pants, we would really appreciate you taking the time to fill out our brief survey about your product experience (there may be a discount code at the end, idk though).

In the meantime, you can find me gathering upstream data and continuing to prioritize versatility, durability, and repairability in design. I truly can’t wait to share what we find and to continue progressing toward sustainability.

Thank you for your time and curiosity. It's an honor to make and analyze your pants.

- Abby

Abby Hollis

Abby is LIVSN’s Product Manager and Head of Sustainability. She’s also a sheep shearer, yarn spinner, weaver, climber, occasional ultimate player, coffee snob, and lover of the color green, which is probably why she is the way that she is.

Leave a comment

All comments are moderated before being published