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Back from the Levi Strauss & Co. Collaboratory!

We are happy to have our founder, Rebecca van Bergen, back in the Nest offices after a whirlwind week in San Francscio, where Rebecca was one of 10 fellows selected to participate in the Levi Strauss & Co. 2016 Collaboratory. The Collaboratory is fellowship program that invites a small group of industry leaders to convene for three days of collaboration surrounding social or environmental solutions to improve the work of their organizations. Each year, the Collaboratory focuses on a different sustainability topic that the apparel industry is working to tackle and this year’s focus was on reducing water use.

The topic is one of the utmost relevance to Nest, as responsible wastewater management is a global sector challenge for the artisan workforce. As Nest continues to collect data from our growing Nest Artisan Guild comprised of more than 220 artisan businesses across 46 countries, we are better understanding the universal challenges to business growth that stand in the way of their success. Regardless of craft type or geographic locale, artisan businesses universally face issues with responsible wastewater management during the textile dying process. If we could create an affordable solution with global applicability, the entire sector would advance. This is precisely what Nest is working towards with the help of partners like Levi Strauss and like our Artisan Advancement Steering Committee partner, Patagonia.

Understanding that wastewater treatment and disposal during the dye process leads to environmental and health consequences for artisan communities, Nest is seeking to create practical and affordable solutions to ensure more responsible and sustainable wastewater treatment, management and disposal. We hold that s comprehensive solution should include:

1) Wastewater management equipment and system that is contextual, affordable, and easy to implement and maintain
2) For retailers working with artisans: development of wastewater management standards for ethical production – those that are context-specific and achievable for small-scale artisan businesses

3) For artisans: best practices for dye use and wastewater management during the production process to ensure lowered environmental impact.

To date, Nest has conducted comprehensive research surrounding current field work aimed at bringing wastewater remediation to small workshop settings. Simultaneously, Nest has identified a target pilot site identified in Jaipur, India, and is seeking additional geographies in which to pilot prospective solutions with artisan businesses in need. We look forward to keeping the Nest family updated on what’s ahead! Many thanks to the Collaboratory for helping us to advance this work as we look to align our efforts with those of the rest of the industry.