Last month, Business and Fashion published a case study on how we at Levi Strauss & Co. run an ethical business – digging specifically into our tradition of values, our history of financial ups and down, and our most recent track record of making hard choices responsibly. Through interviews with executives, including our President and CEO Chip Bergh, the case study tells the story of this moment through the lens of how we have historically defined responsible business.
The case study further showcases and analyzes our historic commitments to sustainability, values, planning for the long term and how we’re navigating the current crisis related to COVID-19. As the report states:
“LS&Co.’s values, which it says were baked into the business by the founding family, have been tested through decades of ups and downs during which it has sometimes set industry benchmarks and at other times followed standard business practices to survive and fell short of its own goals. But the company’s commitment, sometimes bordering on obsession, with corporate social responsibility, philanthropy and ‘doing the right thing’ has managed to endure throughout.”
Our sense of being a responsible business is a powerful part of our history and a big part of our successes, and it will absolutely be part of our future. So, how are we navigating the current landscape while maintaining our commitment to our profits through principles? How are our leaders thinking about leading for the long term and sticking to our corporate values? Below are a few key quotes from the study that provide a quick snapshot of what’s included:
- “Crisis creates an opportunity for us,” said Chip Bergh. “[It] doesn’t matter how great your business results were up until the middle of March. Every CEO is going to be defined by how they lead through this.”
- “The kids that we love, the people that inspire us, the muse of the brand is probably unemployed right now,” said Paul Dillinger. “In a future business reality, where we are asking people to spend money that they don’t have on clothes that they have proven to themselves they don’t need, there damn well better be a strong value proposition behind the ask for the purchase.”
- “When the going gets tough, if you don’t have that moral compass, you will devolve to the quickest, most expedient solution, which may not be the right solution for the long term,” said Bergh. “How do we come out of this stronger than we went into it?”
For more on this, read the full study (subscription-based): Business of Fashion Case Study: How Levi’s is Navigating the Purpose and Profit Trade-Off.