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Denim giant Levi Strauss & Co (LS&Co) is moving to help support workers in its apparel supply chains as part of a US$3m commitment to Covid-19 relief efforts.

In a letter shared with employees yesterday (2 April), LS&Co president and CEO Chip Bergh said the Levi Strauss Foundation (LSF) is working with partner organisations in a number of sourcing countries to help address the immediate impact of the coronavirus in the apparel supply chain.

This will include a series of grants focused on public health support and food security for factory workers, particularly for women who “are most vulnerable to economic shocks.” 

Bergh added: “We are also working with industry stakeholders to explore options for a collective response to support workers during this crisis. We have a long history of sharing our learnings and approach to improving apparel worker well-being and will continue to do this during this time. No one company will be able to combat the impact of this devastating crisis alone, but together we can make a difference.”

The $3m relief efforts – which focus on LS&Co employees, community partners, and supply chain workers – will support vanguard organisations including Doctors Without Borders and the Urgent Action Fund for Women’s Rights, which are addressing the impacts the pandemic is having on vulnerable communities.  

In addition to a first round of more than 15 grants, LSF will continue to support its current grantees and is also gearing up to lend additional support to those in LS&Co’s global supply chain.

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The company is also working to address the shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE), with plans to donate medical-grade masks it had stored for employee safety to hospitals around the globe (nearly 10,000 to date); and explore what’s possible from both a manufacturing and innovation perspective.   

In addition, Bergh said employees across the company have volunteered to sew homemade masks for medical workers not directly treating suspected Covid-19 patients and other community members in less high-risk situations.