In compliance with the growing pressure of the WRC, the denim company Levi Strauss & Co has agreed to pay the full price for all completed ready-to-ship orders and the production of in-progress garments. In later seasons, the company agreed to use the raw materials that suppliers had already received for product orders.
Levi’s CEO Chip Bergh boasted recently about the company’s legacy of “doing the right thing.” Some of those “right things” include issuing a strong statement in support of Black Lives Matter, dedicating an Instagram Live series to queer culture and antiracist education, and donating $1 million to garment worker relief.
Yet, in early June, the 167-year-old brand credited with inventing blue jeans—a wardrobe staple of the counterculture—quietly appeared on a list of apparel giants not treating garment workers responsibly during the Covid-19 crisis. As of last week, Levi’s has settled its disagreements with suppliers, worker advocates say, but the dispute shows that brands are under increasing pressure to do more for the people who make their clothes.
In a list of companies which have not agreed to pay adequate sum, Levi’s has already been named by WRC, on time and in full. The business claimed that the decision by the brand to postpone the payments of negotiated terms put at risk the cash flow of suppliers and their ability to pay the salaries of clothing workers.
In partnership with the IFC, Levi’s has also introduced a new initiative that encourages customers to make early payments at competitive market rates. The company also helps companies in non-IFC areas. The Foundation provided $1 billion in funding in April to meet the needs of clothing workers in the communities of provision of health, food and safety net.