Since 1991 when Levi Strauss created their first Terms of Engagement for working with their supply chains, they have been a leader in moving not only their company forward, but also others who followed their lead. Today, Levi Strauss has issued a new set of Terms of Engagement with the aim to improve on the commitments made twenty years ago. Instead of just focusing on compliance, Levi plans to concentrate on enhancing workers’ lives.
A point that I find interesting is that Levi’s does not see this as just a document for apparel companies, but for any company interested in moving toward the UN Millennium Development Goals which aim to:
• improve maternal and child health
• combat HIV/AIDs, and other diseases
• promote gender equality and empowering women
• eradicate extreme poverty and hunger
• ensure environmental sustainability
With a goal for implementation in May 2012, Levi plans to work with NGO’s, suppliers, unions, and other apparel manufacturers for the next nine months to test these terms. At the end of this time period, they will publish a white paper and ask for public comment before moving full steam ahead next May.
John Anderson, President & CEO of Levi Strauss acknowledged that putting the first Terms of Engagement into practice cost them anywhere from $0.50 to $0.75 per pair of jeans. This is a substantial uptick in the cost to manufacture each pair of jeans and yet Levi’s was committed to moving forward with this initiative.
Again and again Levi Strauss is acknowledged for their role in improving the working conditions of those in their supply chain. Isn’t it time we begin to support this company in their endeavors? Let me know what you think.
I would love to add other companies to this site if I can verify their social compliance. If you know of any company who is ethical in their corporate social responsibility relative to human rights, with verifiable documentation, please send their name along and I will check them out.
Until next time…