Denim giant Levi Strauss has launched an initiative focused on protecting women in supply chain. Women are frequently promised promotions or better contracts in exchange for sexual favors. The pilot program is aimed at protecting more than 10,000 women in garment making. Under the program, an independent watchdog with the power to investigate claims of sexual and power harassment will be created. This body will have the right to publicly expose abusive managers and compel factories to discipline or fire offenders. The program will run for two years and additionally involve an education campaign, to be delivered to staff of all seniority levels, as well as management training.
Levi’s has a longstanding commitment to creating safe, productive workplaces for workers across its supply chain. It is the first multinational apparel company to establish a comprehensive workplace code of conduct for its manufacturing suppliers. Reports of sexual harassment and coercion are more difficult to elicit from workers due to their fear of retaliation and other factors. The company is there for currently engaging with experts in order to identify best practices for identifying gender-based violence and harassment and improving its monitoring processes. Levi’s also plans to halve water use for manufacturing in water-stressed areas by 2025.