INTRODUCTION TO LEVIS STRAUSS & CO.
Founded in 1853 by Bavarian immigrant Levi Strauss, Levi Strauss & Co. is one of the world’s largest brand-name apparel marketers with sales in more than 110 countries. There is no other company with a comparable global presence in the jeans and casual pants markets. Our market-leading apparel products are sold under the Levi’s®, Dockers® and Levi Strauss Signature® brands.
Levi Strauss & Co. is privately held by descendants of the family of Levi Strauss. Shares of company stock are not publicly traded. Shares of Levi Strauss Japan K.K., our Japanese affiliate, are publicly traded in Japan.
We employ a staff of approximately 10,000 worldwide, including approximately 1,010 at our San Francisco, California Headquarters.
The story of Levi Strauss & Co. and our brands is filled with examples of the key role our values have played in meeting consumer needs. Likewise, our brands embody many of the core values that our consumers live by. This is why our brands have stood the test of time.
Generations of people have worn our products as a symbol of freedom and self-expression in the face of adversity, challenge and social change. They forged a new territory called the American West. They fought in wars for peace. They instigated counterculture revolutions. They tore down the Berlin Wall. Reverent, irreverent they all took a stand.
Indeed, it is this special relationship between our values, our consumers and our brands that is the basis of our success and drives our core purpose. It is the foundation of who we are and what we want to become:
People love our clothes and trust our company.
We will market and distribute the most appealing and widely worn apparel brands.
Our products define quality, style and function.
We will clothe the world.
Our success as a company is built upon an unwavering commitment to responsible business practices. Integrity has always been at the heart of how we operate and is one of Levi Strauss & Co.’s (LS&CO.) core corporate values. For more than 155 years, we have demonstrated the highest ethical standards in the conduct of our business.
Our Worldwide Code of Business Conduct reflects our commitment to manage our business affairs responsibly, with the utmost integrity and in compliance with all applicable laws. It offers guidance to our employees on a host of potential business situations and emphasizes the importance of making business decisions through the lens of our values.
The Global Anti-Bribery and Anti-Corruption Policy provides additional, specific guidance on two critical sections of the Worldwide Code of Business Conduct – Compliance with Laws, Rules and Regulations and Government Officials. Recognizing that anti-bribery and anti-corruption laws vary by jurisdiction and are not always easy to understand, our Global Anti-Bribery and Anti-Corruption Policy is designed to help LS&CO. employees worldwide identify and avoid situations that may potentially violate ethics laws.
Compliance with the Worldwide Code of Business Conduct and the Global Anti-Bribery and Anti-Corruption Policy is mandatory for everyone at LS&CO. worldwide – from the back room to the board room. An Ethics and Compliance Reportine allows LS&CO. employees worldwide to report ethics concerns anonymously, and company policies strictly prohibit retaliation against anyone for raising or helping to address any issue related to the Worldwide Code of Business Conduct or the Global Anti-Bribery and Anti-Corruption Policy.
Levi Strauss & Co. Global Sourcing and Operating Guidelines
Levi Strauss & Co.’s (LS&CO.) commitment to responsible business practices embodied in our Global Sourcing and Operating Guidelines guides our decisions and behavior as a company everywhere we do business. Since becoming the first multinational to establish such guidelines in 1991, LS&CO. has used them to help improve the lives of workers manufacturing our products, make responsible sourcing decisions and protect our commercial interests. They are a cornerstone of our sourcing strategy and of our business relationships with hundreds of contractors worldwide.
The Levi Strauss & Co. Global Sourcing and Operating Guidelines include two parts:
The Country Assessment Guidelines, which address large, external issues beyond the control of LS&CO.’s individual business partners. These help us assess the opportunities and risks of doing business in a particular country.
The Business Partner Terms of Engagement (TOE), which deal with issues that are substantially controllable by individual business partners. These TOE are an integral part of our business relationships. Our employees and our business partners understand that complying with our TOE is no less important than meeting our quality standards or delivery times.
Case Study: Child Labor in Bangladesh
Shortly after our Terms of Engagement (TOE) were implemented, factory assessors discovered that two factories in Bangladesh were employing workers under the minimum working age. While a clear violation of the TOE, Levi Strauss & Co. (LS&CO.) management found itself in a difficult situation when it came to addressing the problem.
The issue of underage labor is a complicated one in Bangladesh – a country where it is not uncommon for a child (defined in the TOE as a person younger than 15 or younger than the mandatory schooling age) to support an entire family on his or her wages. Further, many children born in Bangladesh are not issued birth certificates and due to malnutrition, many people can look younger than their age.
Other companies facing the issue of child labor at the time simply instructed their contractors to fire underage workers. LS&CO. management decided to take a different approach – one that would be informed and guided by the company’s values: empathy, originality, integrity and courage.
Several LS&CO. managers and consultants met with the contractors to develop an agreement on what to do in the immediate situation and how the contractors would operate going forward.
Under the agreement, the factories agreed to continue to pay the already employed underage workers their salaries and benefits while they attended school and offer them full-time jobs when they reached the legal working age. LS&CO. agreed to pay for the students tuition and books. If there was no room in the nearby public school, LS&CO. and the factories would rent space and hire a teacher for the students.
The factories also agreed that going forward, their personnel would require any youth who applies for a job to present a school certificate stating that the applicant is 15 years old or older. In the event an applicant appears much younger, a dental examination may be used to establish the worker’s age.
Our approach to this difficult situation earned LS&CO. the praise of Bangladeshi and U.S. government officials, academics and several nongovernmental organizations (NGOs). Subsequently, the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association along with other groups set aside approximately $1 million for the education of about 75,000 underage girls who previously worked in factories.
ANALYSIS ( RECOMMENDATION TO CHILD LABOURS)
The numerous countries where LS&CO. has existing or future business interests present a variety of cultural, political, social and economic circumstances.
The Issues that might present in the ethical principles. The Guidelines assist us in making practical and principled business decisions as we balance the potential risks and opportunities associated with business in specific countries. Specifically, we assess the following:
Health and Safety Conditions – must meet the expectations we have for employees and their families or our company representatives;
Human Rights Environment – must allow us to conduct business activities in a manner that is consistent with our Global Sourcing and Operating Guidelines and other company policies
Legal System – must provide the necessary support to adequately protect our trademarks, investments or other commercial interests, or to implement the Global Sourcing and Operating Guidelines and other company policies; and
Political, Economic and Social Environment – must protect the company’s commercial interests and brand/corporate image
Our TOE ( terms of engagement ) help us to select business partners follow workplace standards and business practices that are consistent with LS&CO.’s values and policies. These requirements are applied to every contractor who manufactures or finishes products for LS&CO. Trained assessors closely monitor compliance among our manufacturing and finishing contractors in more than 50 countries. The TOE includes:
To identify and utilize business partners who aspire as individuals and in the conduct of all their businesses to a set of ethical standards not incompatible with our own.
Business partners to be law abiding as individuals and to comply with legal requirements relevant to the conduct of all their businesses.
Business with partners who share our commitment to the environment and who conduct their business in a way that is consistent with LS&CO.’s Environmental Philosophy and Guiding Principles.
Business partners who share our commitment to improving community conditions.
Business with partners who adhere to the following guidelines
Use of child labor is not permissible. Workers can be no less than 15 years of age and not younger than the compulsory age to be in school. Non utilization of partners who use child labor in any of their facilities. The development of legitimate workplace apprenticeship programs for the educational benefit of younger people.
Prison Labor/Forced Labor
Non utilization of prison or forced labor in contracting relationships in the manufacture and finishing of our products. Non utilization or purchase materials from a business partner utilizing prison or forced labor.
Non utilization Business partners who use corporal or other forms of mental or physical coercion.
While permitting flexibility in scheduling, we will identify local legal limits on work hours and seek business partners who do not exceed them except for appropriately compensated overtime. While we favor partners who utilize less than sixty-hour work weeks, we will not use contractors who, on a regular basis, require in excess of a sixty-hour week. Employees should be allowed at least one day off in seven.
Wages and Benefits
Business with partners who provide wages and benefits that comply with any applicable law and match the prevailing local manufacturing or finishing industry practices.
Freedom of Association
Respect workers’ rights to form and join organizations of their choice and to bargain collectively. Expect suppliers to respect the right to free association and the right to organize and bargain collectively without unlawful interference. Business partners should ensure that workers who make such decisions or participate in such organizations are not the object of discrimination or punitive disciplinary actions and that the representatives of such organizations have access to their members under conditions established either by local laws or mutual agreement between the employer and the worker organizations.
While recognize and respect cultural differences, Believe that workers should be employed on the basis of their ability to do the job, rather than on the basis of personal characteristics or beliefs. We will favor business partners who share this value.
Health and Safety
Non utilization of Business partners who provide workers with a safe and healthy work environment. Business partners who provide residential facilities for their workers must provide safe and healthy facilities.
All new and existing factories involved in the manufacturing or finishing of products for LS&CO. are regularly evaluated to ensure compliance with our TOE. Goal is to achieve positive results and effect change by working with our business partners to find long-term solutions that will benefit the individuals who make our products and will improve the quality of life in local communities. Work on-site with our contractors to develop strong alliances dedicated to responsible business practices and continuous improvement.
Our academic experts are ready and waiting to assist with any writing project you may have. From simple essay plans, through to full dissertations, you can guarantee we have a service perfectly matched to your needs.View our services
If LS&CO. determines that a contractor is not complying with our TOE, Require that the contractor implement a corrective action plan within a specified time period. If a contractor fails to meet the corrective action plan commitment, Levi Strauss & Co. will terminate the business relationship.
Cite This Work
To export a reference to this article please select a referencing style below: