The world is in the midst of a global crisis – and not just the one you may be thinking of.
As we take time out this month to observe World Refugee Day, it’s critical to remember that the global refugee crisis has displaced more than 70 million people from their homes – making them even more vulnerable to the impacts of health crises like the COVID-19 pandemic.
Inspired by the activism and empathy of our own employees, we have continued to support the refugee community, especially in Europe, for the last several years. And, even with everything else that’s going on right now, we’re committed to not losing that focus.
Through ongoing employee volunteerism, clothing donations, philanthropic grantmaking, job skills training and capacity-building, LS&Co. Europe has continued to address this human rights issue.
- Our employees have volunteered a total of 1,550 hours with community organizations serving refugees.
- We donated nearly 95,000 pieces of high-quality, new clothing to refugees in different European countries. We have since expanded this into a global LS&Co. program – in 2018, we donated tens of thousands of clothing items to partners supporting migrants and refugees around the world.
- Levi Strauss Europe has given nearly $260,000 to local and global community partners serving refugees.
- Over the last three years, the Levi Strauss Foundation has provided $275,000 in support to microStart, an organization that support micro-entrepreneurship for refugees and immigrants in Belgium; and earlier this year, the Foundation made a $25,000 grant to Convivialités, to support an integration program for or refugees and immigrants in Belgium.
- This year, we’ll continue to donate clothing to partners like SafePlace International, which focuses on vulnerable refugees: the LGBT community, women and kids.
- We have also joined with more than 100 other major companies in the TENT Partnership for Refugees to learn from other companies on how to build upon our refugee support even beyond our current programs.
By listening to our community partners, we have taken our efforts a step further this year and put a longer-term economic stability lens to our program – providing refugees with direct opportunities to partner with us.
That led to the successful launch of our Levi’s® x Porto Alegre collection, which consisted of unique denim products that are handmade by a team of tailors, including migrants and refugees, at the Porto Alegre tailor shop in Rovigo, Italy. The new venture proved to be a successful one as all pieces sold out in a few weeks!
“Passion and values are the core foundations of this relationship with the cooperative, and of these second life pieces,” said Adele Ballotta, senior director, Ecommerce Merchandising and Operations, and co-leader of this Porto Alegre partnership. “We are impressed by the consumers’ response to this new ‘Profits through Principles’ collection, and it motivates us to go further.”
Through it all, we have learned one important lesson: Small or big, every action matters. There is so much more work to be done, and we’re proud to continue our support.