Levi Strauss & Co. is a private clothing company founded in 1853, San Francisco by Levi Strauss. The company started by selling denim overalls and is now well known for its denim jeans. Since then the company expanded to having three headquarters in San Francisco (North America), Brussels (Europe), and Singapore (Asia) with a staff totaling 8,850 people. The company experienced great growth in the 1960’s and 70’s from having 16 plants to more than 63 worldwide in a period of ten years without any use of union labor. Being known for its strong stance on human rights and being against sweatshop production, it was the strongest and best organized company in the industry. As time passed, Levi was facing more fierce competition from brands producing overseas at much cheaper prices, until it was facing declined sales forcing it to take on a multi billion dollar debt in 1996, and attempting to sell the company in 2004 after a two million dollar debt outstanding. The financial struggles Levis have encountered (2007 was the first profitable year since the debt of ’96) have put pressure on managers to ease on its “human rights-based” management which in some incidents sacrifices better profit opportunities for better human rights decisions. Although Levi Strauss has always attempted to act ethically at home and abroad, it has fallen short of its goals in some cases as it came under criticism for inhumane actions. Unless Levi’s persists in what it claims it stands for under all conditions, it will continue to come under heavy criticism.
Without a doubt Levis Strauss has acted more ethically than most major profit companies- albeit garment manufacturing companies. In closing its San Antonia, Texas factory the company had offered “its workers more than was legally required and promised to try to recruit a new company to use the empty factory.” This act of paying more than was required is a sign of goodwill as it voluntarily raises the costs on Levi