Appearing at Semi Permanent Sydney 2019
Michael Kobori has led sustainability at Levi Strauss & Co. since 2001.
He is responsible for the company’s sustainability strategy. He also oversees sustainability throughout the value chain, with a focus on the material issues of water, chemicals, carbon, and people.
Under Michael’s tenure, Levi Strauss & Co. has been a pioneer on sustainability through its Water<Less™ production techniques; commitment to Zero Discharge of Hazardous Chemicals; establishment of a Science-based carbon emissions target; innovative Worker Well-being program; and Care for the Planet™ product labels to encourage consumer awareness of sustainable garment care.
A hallmark of Michael’s leadership has been a commitment to supporting a more sustainable apparel sector. All of the company’s sustainability innovations are open sourced to the rest of the industry and Levi Strauss & Co. publicly discloses all of its first and second tier suppliers.
Mr. Kobori is a Director of the Cotton Board and Council member of the Better Cotton Initiative. He is a member of the President’s Leadership Council of The Asia Foundation. Michael previously served on the Boards of the Levi Strauss Foundation and the Sustainable Apparel Coalition; and on the Advisory Board of the ILO’s Better Work program.
Michael is a lecturer at the Haas Business School, University of California at Berkeley. He is also the Executive Producer of Utopia Theatre Project, an independent, artist-run theater company.
Prior to working at Levi Strauss & Co., Michael was a Vice-President at Business for Social Responsibility and spent nearly ten years at The Asia Foundation.
Michael holds a Masters Degree in Public Policy from the University of California, Berkeley, where he also received his undergraduate education in Psychology and Asian Studies.
He lives in Berkeley, California, with his spouse, Sachiko Nagai. They have two grown daughters, Anne and Ellen. In addition to his work and family, Michael is passionate about cooking, theater, the Golden State Warriors, San Francisco Giants and the California Golden Bears.