production: product suppliers
OUR FEATURED SUPPLIERS
For more than 165 years, Levi Strauss & Co. has worked to honor the pioneering spirit of hard work, individuality and authenticity in how we make our products and how we run our company. We’ve dedicated ourselves to elevating the dignity of the people who work to bring our clothing to market. And we’ve invested our time, energy, heart and resources in improving the future of these communities.
In 2005, we were among the first apparel companies to release the names and locations of all our active, approved owned-and-operated, contract and licensee factories that manufacture and finish Levi’s®, Dockers®, Signature by Levi Strauss™ and Denizen® products. In 2018, we continued to advance supply chain transparency by expanding our public supplier list beyond manufacturing and finishing suppliers to include fabric mills. We believe that publishing our factory and mills lists fosters collaboration with other brands and leads to sector-wide improvement on supplier performance with regard to workplace conditions and managing environmental impact.
BETTER WORK PROGRAM
We actively support the International Labor Organization’s Better Work program to improve working conditions in apparel factories. Better Work brings local enterprises, international buyers, governments and NGOs together to build partnerships and create a rigorous cycle of improvement.
IMPROVING WORKER CONDITIONS
In 1991, we were the first multinational apparel company to establish a comprehensive workplace code of conduct, known as our Terms of Engagement, for our manufacturing suppliers. Our Sustainability Guidebook spells out in detail these labor, health and safety, and environmental requirements. It is based on United Nations documents such as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and International Labor Organization (ILO) Core Conventions.
Over the years, many companies have adopted similar codes of conduct, and today most of those reflect our original Terms of Engagement.
In 1995, we added strict water quality standards as part of our environmental requirements. Between 1999 and 2005, we strengthened protections of workers’ rights to form unions and conduct collective bargaining. And in 2014, we included new guidelines regarding, migrant workers, fire safety and building integrity.
Over the years, we have established a strong program to assess how well our suppliers are meeting our code and, when we identify problems, how to remedy.
We have also learned that monitoring our suppliers is only one part of improving working conditions. In addition to working directly with our suppliers, we have programs in their communities to strengthen worker rights. We also work with governments to strengthen labor laws and their enforcement. Ultimately, improving working conditions in our supplier factories requires the involvement of our suppliers, local organizations, governments and other buyers that may be sourcing in those factories.
We employ full-time headcount in select geographical areas, located around the world where our suppliers are. They are responsible to manage our external monitor qualification program as well as local partnerships like the International Labor Organization’s Better Work program. These external monitors understand the scope of our labor and environment, health and safety standards and know the local languages, laws, culture and business context of each country in which we operate. They conduct regular assessments in cycles of 12 to 15 months of every factory contracted to manufacture our products. These assessments are based on standards found in our Sustainability Guidebook. Assessments involve on-site and off-site discussions with workers using specific guidelines developed by Ask called Gathering Information from Workers, management interviews, review of factory records (such as timecards and payroll) and environment, health and safety inspections.
Each assessment identifies areas for improvement and a detailed corrective action plan, including actions, responsible parties, and timelines. Regular follow-up visits are also conducted to ensure suppliers are completing their corrective action plans on a timely basis. Public attention surrounding the situation in Bangladesh prompted us to share our building stability reports publicly.
Over the years, we have learned that while the factory assessment process is important, the key to lasting improvement in working conditions is for our suppliers themselves to understand and appreciate the importance of operating a responsible workplace. Today, we are spending more time and resources working with our suppliers to improve their human resource and environment, health and safety programs, training their personnel and developing the systems to operate a responsible workplace.
The Levi Strauss Foundation focuses on funding programs that strengthen worker rights and improve the working and living conditions for the people who make our products. Through these grants, we support innovative 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 our employees, contractors and their families.
As pioneers in the fight for fair employment practices, we firmly believe that workplace standards and worker rights should be an integral part of all bilateral, regional or multilateral trade negotiations.
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. And we continue to do so whenever and wherever we can — through congressional testimony, meetings with senior government officials, trade negotiations and multi-stakeholder initiatives.
In many cases, we are not the only apparel company working with a given supplier. One of the reasons we are transparent about our suppliers is to reach out to other apparel brands and organizations to see how we can work together in the factories we share. By getting the rest of the industry involved, we are able to send a stronger message to our suppliers about the importance of operating a responsible workplace. View a full list of our collaborators.
We are a member of and are program partners actively engaged in supporting the International Labor Organization’s Better Work program.