If anyone was wondering if Levi’s very public support for stronger gun control laws has had any adverse affects on the company, the answer, according to a recent Fast Company feature, is not at all.
Levi’s first publicly adopted their position in 2016, when a customer was hanging out in the fitting room with a loaded gun and shot himself in the foot. In response, the company published “an open letter asking its customers not to carry guns while they shop,” which seems sensible.
But after the Parkland shooting in 2018, the company’s CEO, Chip Bergh, really drew a line, setting up a $1 million fund to support organizations that are working to put in place “common sense regulations or laws that would prevent guns being in the hands of people who shouldn’t own a gun.”
“I think it’s imperative that companies not be afraid to weigh in on the issues that are really impacting the world,” Bergh told Fast Company, “whether that’s gun violence or climate change.”
As Bergh noted, this isn’t Levi’s first foray into activism and advocacy: in 1992, the company “pulled its sponsorship from the Boy Scouts in response to the organization’s ban on gay troop leaders,” prompting a barrage of hate mail. “20 years from now, we’re going to look back and say this company was again on the right side of an important issue.”
But perhaps most importantly for the future of corporate activism, none of this is negatively affecting business. Like, at all. “The last fiscal year was the strongest in decades,” the story said, also noting that “the company has had double-digit top-line growth for six quarters, including the quarter after it announced its stand on gun control.”
As Moms Demand Action Founder Shannon Watts told Fast Company. “[This] work is often a marathon, not a sprint… But I have no doubt that [change] will happen in our lifetime, particularly with companies like Levi’s getting on board.”
You can read more about it at Fast Company.