SAN FRANCISCO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Marking the 25th anniversary of its industry-changing supplier code of conduct, called Terms of Engagement, Levi Strauss & Co. (LS&Co.) announced a new commitment to expand the company’s pioneering Worker Well-being initiative – both within and outside the company. By 2025, the company will aim to:
- Expand Worker Well-being to reach more than 300,000 workers;
- Implement the program with all strategic vendors;
- Produce more than 80 percent of its product volume in Worker Well-being factories.
In addition to these targets, the company announced it will share with the industry its Worker Well-being best practices, tools and standards in a move to exponentially increase the reach and impact of the program. Open sourcing best practices in this way has proven effective in driving outsized impact and system-level change.
“Our intent for the Worker Well-being initiative is to continue to serve as a catalyst to transform the apparel industry by setting a new standard for valuing and investing in apparel workers’ lives,” said Chip Bergh, president and CEO. “We have seen that when we lead, others follow. From our Terms of Engagement in 1991, to sharing our chemical management system with other brands, to open sourcing our Water<Less finishing techniques earlier this year, LS&Co. can influence the way other companies do business and create a larger impact by sharing how we do business.”
Worker Well-being represents a groundbreaking shift in how companies address the needs of workers who make their products. Launched in 2011, the initiative has created proven, sustainable business and social benefits at all levels of the supply chain, including a demonstrated 4:1 return on investment for some programs. Through this initiative, LS&Co. has been able to show suppliers that healthy, financially literate workers are more productive, which contributes to the bottom line through reduced absenteeism and higher retention rates. These results spur investment in programs from suppliers themselves, which has taken Worker Well-being beyond LS&Co.’s initial targets.
LS&Co. is also taking measurement a step further by getting to the core of what “well-being” truly means to workers. Through a grant from the Levi Strauss Foundation, Harvard’s Sustainability and Health Initiative for NetPositive Enterprise (SHINE) program, based at the Center for Health and the Global Environment at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, will develop a universal Worker Well-being measurement toolkit for the wider manufacturing industry. The toolkit is meant to provide suppliers with a dashboard to track key performance indicators around workers’ overall levels of engagement, health and well-being beyond typical business measures. This will allow suppliers to better understand and analyze the impact of well-being on their workers and business in real-time.
This dashboard tool will also be shared publicly.
“Building a strategy and tool for suppliers to understand and actively monitor worker well-being represents a new chapter for the apparel industry,” said Eileen McNeely, Co-Director of SHINE. “The uptake of the well-being strategy starts with the vision, moves with the metrics and sustains overtime with proof that businesses, workers, families and communities benefit from enhanced well-being. We see a huge potential for this approach to create positive social impact and the next industry standard.”
LS&Co.’s Worker Well-being program takes a unique approach that is rooted in the workers’ self-identified needs, first and foremost. Before implementing any programs or solutions, LS&Co. starts by surveying factory workers to hear firsthand what they need to become more engaged, healthy and productive employees. Only then, LS&Co. and its vendors partner with local and national non-profits and NGOs to implement programs to meet the needs of workers. Programs generally focus on financial empowerment, health and family well-being and equality and acceptance, but are flexible to workers’ changing needs.
LS&Co. will share its Worker Well-being Guidebook, which contains all the tools and materials needed for companies to implement programs in their own supply chains, including the initial worker needs survey. The company will also share key results from countries it has implemented programs in to provide proof points.
The Worker Well-being resources are available here.