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Levi Strauss & Co is working with suppliers to reduce their environmental impact and improve the conditions for workers in the brand’s supply chain.
The brand has been a pioneer in social and environmental sustainability in the industry.
Levi Strauss & Co is developing innovative techniques and practices in its supply chain including the Water<Less techniques. These innovations are present in the manufacturing of the Waste<Less collection and the Levi’s Wellthread Collection.
Levi Strauss & Co publicly share a list of suppliers and reports on progress in a number of different areas.
The brand has not released updated information on their climate change policy since 2012.
The brand does not share any information about whether or not it is working towards implementing a living wage in its supply chain.
It is unclear whether or not the brand can trace its entire supply chain.
/ The brand’s products are sold in over 50,000 retail locations throughout the world.
/ The brand has 629 company-operated stores.
/ As of November 30, 2014, the brand employs approximately 15,000 people. Approximately 4,000 are associated with the manufacturing and procurement of products, 6,400 worked in retail, including seasonal employees, 1,300 worked in distribution and 3,300 were other non-production employees.
/ The brand has 1,083 suppliers.
/ The annual revenue for 2014 was $4.75 billion.
/ Levi Strauss & Co publicly shares a list of their suppliers’ names and addresses. This includes all the brand’s active, approved owned-and-operated, contract and licensee factories that manufacture and finish Levi’s, Dockers and Signature by Levi Strauss products.
/ It is unclear if the brand can trace their entire supply chain.
/ The brand shares a lot of documents and initiatives publicly on its website that demonstrate it is trying to have a minimal negative social and environmental impact. These include product life cycle assessment reports, greenhouse gas emission reports and Bangladesh building stability reports among others.
/ The brand has a publicly available supplier code of conduct that covers most of the industry standards. The code only applies to manufacturing suppliers. Levi Strauss states that they were the first multinational company to develop a workplace code of conduct for its manufacturing suppliers.
- The Free2work 2015 report states that a policy against supplier recruitment fees is only partially covered by the code.
- The code is included in supplier contracts.
/ Levi Strauss & Co have completed pilots for the Worker Well-being initiative in Bangladesh, Cambodia, Egypt, Haiti and Pakistan. The brand aims to collaborate with suppliers to improve the lives of apparel workers in locations where their products are made. Levi Strauss & Co is expanding the program in 2015 to more vendors.
/ The brand shares case studies that demonstrate how the company has dealt with violations of their code of conduct in the past.
/ Levi Strauss & Co were the first brand to prohibit cotton sourced from Uzbekistan in their supply chain. The brand informed their suppliers that they were to no longer source cotton from Uzbekistan. Levi Strauss is also engaging with a number of stakeholders to encourage change.
/ Levi Strauss & Co has a global ban on sandblasting in all of their product lines.
/ Levi’s Waste<Less collection of products are made of 20 percent post-consumer waste, specifically, recycled plastic bottles. To date (since the collection launched in Spring 2013), the brand has used 11.9 million recycled bottles for products such as Levi’s 511 Skinny jeans, Levi’s Trucker jackets and the women’s Levi’s Boyfriend Skinny jeans.
/ Levi Strauss & Co is a member of the Better Cotton Initiative (BCI) and has been working with the organisation to train farmers to grow cotton with less water. The brand states that by 2020, 75% of all the cotton that they use will be qualified as Better Cotton.
/ The brand aims to use 100% renewable energy in its operations and then supply chain. In Europe, 23 retail stores, nine Levi Strauss & Co. offices and a distribution center in the United Kingdom started purchasing electricity generated from 100 percent renewable energy sources. In 2011, the brand purchased 11% of its electricity used in its operations from renewable sources. It is unclear what progress has been made since 2011.
/ The brand has been working with suppliers to reduce their energy use.
/ In 2013, Levi Strauss & Co developed the first Water Recycling/Reuse Standard in the apparel industry and worked with a supplier in China to set up a system that produces products using 100 percent recycled water. The brand’s goal is to scale this process to many of their wet finishing suppliers and collections.
/ Levi Strauss & Co also encourages its customers to extend the life of its products by providing them with free shipping labels that deliver clothing to the nearest Goodwill location.
/ The brand states that by 2020, 75% of all the cotton that they use will be qualified as Better Cotton.
/ By 2020, the Levi’s brand aims to make 80 percent of its products using Water<Less techniques.
/ Levi Strauss & Co are committed to achieving zero discharge of hazardous chemicals by 2020.
/ The brand is committed to marriage equality and the fundamental right for all to marry.
/ The Levi Strauss Foundation focuses on funding programs that strengthen worker rights and improve the working and living conditions for the people who make their products. Through grants, the brand support local, regional and global nonprofit organizations that encourage the enforcement of labor laws, increase awareness around health care issues and promote access to asset-building and life skills training for employees, contractors and their families. The foundation shares a list of organizations that it has given grants to.
/ Levi Strauss & Co. was the first and only major multinational company to publicly advocate for linkage of trade and labor, incorporating key workplace standards and worker rights provisions within the context of trade agreements.
/ Levi Strauss & Co holds a Community Day once a year that sees employees around the world take a day away from work to volunteer with local nonprofit organizations.
/ CEO Charles V. Bergh earned $1,280,000 in 2014.
/ There have been no reported management issues of scandals.
/ Levi Strauss & Co have led the way in a number of key areas:
- They were the first multinational company to develop a workplace code of conduct for their manufacturing suppliers.
- In 2013, they became the first apparel company to publish a statistical method, E-valuate, to compare products or product components.
- Levi Strauss & Co was the first company in the industry to establish global guidelines for water quality standards for suppliers.
- Levi Strauss & Co was the first to provide financial incentives for garment suppliers in developing countries to upgrade environmental, health, safety and labor standards.
/ The brand has developed the Levi’s Wellthread Collection. This collection incorporates the following:
- Levi’s Water<Less fabric, which saves more than 65 percent of the water in the dyeing process than conventional dyeing.
- Made of 100% cotton, the fabric, thread, pocketing, and labels are all designed for recyclability, with a future state of closed loop recycling in mind.
- The collection is produced in factories where the brand is implementing programs that improve the lives of the people that work there.
/ According to Fast Company, in May 2016, Levi’s is working closely with Evrnu to produce a pair of 511 jeans made entirely out of recycled cotton. The project is still a work in process.
Levi Strauss & Co.’s new strategy on, among other things, ‘economic empowerment’ lacks any real commitment to increase wages – the thing that workers need the most. Healthcare, math classes and meal programmes are all very well, but these needs could be met by paying a living wage. LS & Co. need to re-evaluate and get back on track. – 3/2014
MARC GUNTHER | THE GUARDIAN
“What’s clear, nevertheless, is the seriousness of thought that has gone into Wellthread. It aims to be the antithesis of fast, cheap throwaway fashion.” Wellthread is a Docker’s line that brings together the best practices in materials sourcing and garment manufacturing, providing social and economic benefits to factory workers in Bangladesh and delivering durable khakis, jackets and T-shirts to consumers. – 11/6/2013
Levi’s CEO Charles V. Bergh at Fortune Brainstorm Green Conference: “We have a pair of jeans in our archives that are 135 years old, so we are the ultimate in sustainable apparel. We build our products to last; if you treat them right, they will last a long, long time—probably longer than most people’s waistlines.”
Michael Kobori, Vice President of Social and Environmental Sustainability at Levi Strauss & Co. on embracing circular economy “The opportunity is tremendous. We’re aiming to establish an infrastructure that supports closed loop products by 2020. Our vision is to recycle your old Levi’s into new ones. And by doing this, we’ll reduce the impact of cotton agriculture by harvesting the denim from people’s closets that would otherwise end up as landfill.”
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