New Terms of Engagement for Levi Strauss & Co. Global Supply Chain

Yesterday, Levi Strauss & Co.  announced a new Terms of Engagement for its global supply chain, moving beyond compliance to help improve the lives of workers in factories around the world. Under the new approach, LS&Co. will require contract factories to help make employees’ lives better by supporting programs for their workers that align with UN Millennium Development goals.

In a speech delivered today at the CERES annual conference, CEO and President John Anderson said: “We are proposing a new apparel industry standard of social, economic, and environmental sustainability that focuses on improving workers’ lives. If our ultimate goal is to improve not just factory conditions, but to make a material difference to the people and communities in our supply chain, then we need a more holistic approach and a more human perspective.”

The speech comes twenty years after Levi Strauss & Co. announced a Terms of Engagement that set a new standard of compliance for vendor factories in the apparel industry. The TOE required manufacturing factories to follow health, safety and environmental standards set by Levi Strauss & Co. This standard – considered pioneering at the time – rapidly became the norm for most companies with a global supply chain.

Anderson argued that companies need to do more to create progress and move the industry forward: “Compliance has us focused on two things: a legalistic standard of “do no harm” and factory-level monitoring and reporting,” said Anderson. “While we’ve made progress in a number of areas over twenty years, the hard truth is that we haven’t made enough progress on improving the everyday lives of the people who make our products.”

A New Terms of Engagement
The company’s new approach will focus on programs that align with the UN Millennium Development Goals http://www.un.org/millenniumgoals/ specifically: improving maternal and child health; combating HIV/AIDs, and other diseases; promoting gender equality and empowering women; eradicating extreme poverty and hunger; and ensuring environmental sustainability.

LS& Co. committed to a nine-month advisory process with NGOs, other brands, labor unions and suppliers around the world. At the end of the process, Levi Strauss & Co. will release a white paper for public comment and then will begin implementing the new terms of engagement with suppliers in May 2012.

The company argued that a new terms of engagement is not only the right thing to do, but is good for business: “We are sure that if companies focus not just on the minimum legal requirements, but on a broader vision of social, economic, and environmental sustainability, they will be rewarded,” said Anderson.

Levi Strauss & Co. is a participant in the CERES Investor Business Roundtable for a Sustainable Economy announced this morning. The company made the commitment as part of a keynote speech delivered at the 2011 CERES Conference. For more information about the Roundtable, visit: ceres.org.

For the full John Anderson speech and more background information, please visit:http://www.levistrauss.com/new-termsofengagement. (Source: CSRwire PR)

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About Norman Cescut

I love my job because I simply believe in what I do and I love to do it. I love traveling, both for business and pleasure. Meeting different people and cultures has always fascinated me, it enriches me. I love laughing, enjoying good food, my BBQ is highly appreciated by all of them. I love dancing and I love taking portraits. I’m in love with life. . - Owner & CEO at DESITA, the International Retail & Foodservice Consultancy Company specialized in shop concept design, franchising and sustainability. - Vice President, National and International Coordinator of IREF Italia, the European Franchise & Partnership Network Organization. - MENAFA Ambassador to Italy (Middle East and North Africa Franchise Association) - International Franchise Academy member and part of its Knowledge Tank. - Creator & founder of ECOFFEE the sustainable coffee shop project & related sustainable entrepreneurship platform. - Representative for the sustainable business in Italy of HH Abdul Aziz bin Ali Al Nuaimi, aka “Green Sheikh”, member of the Ruling Family of the Emirate of Ajman – UAE.

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