Levi Strauss & Co. Commemorates World AIDS Day 2009 by Engaging Global Artists to Encourage Consumers to "Know Your Status"
San Francisco, California, December 1, 2009 — Levi Strauss & Co. continued more than 25 years of pioneering leadership on HIV/AIDS by commemorating World AIDS Day 2009 with support from pioneering artists around the world. The company launched a global web site that spotlights work of global artists’ interpretation of World AIDS Day and encourages consumers to “know your status” in the fight against HIV/AIDS. The Levi Strauss Foundation also announced $2 million in grants in 2009 for organizations engaging in groundbreaking work on the pandemic.
John Anderson, CEO of Levi Strauss & Co. said, "The commitment to fight HIV/AIDS is woven into the fabric of our company from our workplace program to public policy advocacy to partnerships with non-profits around the globe. World AIDS Day provides a unique opportunity to engage the Levi’s® brand in creative ways to connect directly to our consumers around the world about this critical issue. The face of HIV/AIDS has changed over 25 years and we feel a responsibility to make sure that a new generation of young people understands that knowledge is power in fighting this global pandemic.”
To commemorate World AIDS Day, the Levi’s® brand launched a global micro-site (www.levi.com/worldaidsday) to leverage the power of innovative new artists to help provide education to consumers around the world, with a focus on the youth population. Of the over 60 million people who have been infected with HIV, one-third of them are between the ages of 15 and 24. Of the 2.5 million people infected yearly, young people ages 15-24 account for more than 40 percent of new infections. Today, nearly 12 million young people are living with HIV/AIDS.
The Levi’s® brand is using emerging and established artists to reach consumers through art. The artist submissions will be featured in materials in Levi’s® retail stores across the globe to encourage consumers to “Know Your Status” and get tested for HIV.
In the United States, the Levi’s® brand partnered with renowned graphic designer Stefan Sagmeister to create a provocative interactive art poster designed to create awareness around the importance of prevention and testing. The poster will be distributed in communities across the US, and the art will be featured at various retail locations. The Levi’s® brand also partnered with artists across the globe, including Matt Sewell, Mysterious Al, Pinky, IHOK and Pinky in Europe, and Yan Wei (Kokomoo) in China.
In addition to the consumer campaign for World AIDS Day, Levi Strauss & Co. reinforced its long-time corporate commitment to preventing HIV/AIDS with two new initiatives:
• The Levi Strauss Foundation announced a $100,000 grant for Human Rights Watch to continue their groundbreaking work on HIV/AIDS prevention as a global human right. The Foundation and Levi Strauss & Co. have provided $2 million in grant support for organizations around the globe in 2009.
• Levi Strauss & Co. as part of the Clinton Global Initiative commitment it made in 2006, launched a global web site focused on HIV/AIDS prevention for employees that provides comprehensive education in an interactive way, information on the HIV/AIDS benefits available to them, as well as resources for HIV/AIDS services around the globe. By the end of 2011, this comprehensive employee education project will be rolled out in all global offices and retail locations. Levi Strauss & Co. is also further exploring how to share these HIV/AIDS prevention tools with our suppliers, with a pilot underway in factories in Mexico.
Levi Strauss & Co. has been actively involved in the fight against HIV/AIDS since the beginning of the epidemic. As early as 1982, Levi Strauss’ employees and executives started a grassroots educational effort that would quickly evolve into the first major corporate HIV/AIDS prevention initiative.
Levi Strauss & Co. and the Levi Strauss Foundation have played a leadership role in the private sector response to the disease by developing workplace policies, practices and communications that have become a standard benchmark for businesses, non-profits and governments facing HIV/AIDS issues in the workplace.
Today Levi Strauss takes a comprehensive approach to HIV/AIDS that focuses on:
• A global Employee HIV/AIDS Program. Levi Strauss employees and their dependents are provided HIV/AIDS testing, treatment and care services in locations where benefits are not already covered by existing company health plans or adequately provided by public health care systems.
• Support for community organizations addressing HIV/AIDS with a focus on stigma and discrimination. In 1983, the Levi Strauss Foundation became the first U.S. corporate foundation to address the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Since then, the company and foundation have contributed more than $40 million in grants to HIV/AIDS service organizations in more than 40 countries with a focus eradicating the stigma and discrimination against people living with HIV and those who are most vulnerable to infection. Today the foundation announced an additional $2 million in 2009, including $100,000 to Human Rights Watch.
• HIV/AIDS prevention education with our consumers. For more than a decade, Levi Strauss and Co. has also been commemorating World Aids Day by engaging employees and consumers. For the past several years, Levi Strauss South Africa has supported a campaign for HIV/AIDS awareness -- Red for Life -- targeting young people to take action to fight HIV/AIDS and promote testing among youth populations across the country. The efforts have raised significant funds for one of South Africa’s leading AIDS services and advocacy organizations.
• Engaged leadership in promoting effective global public policy. This year, Levi Strauss represented U.S. business as part of a U.S. delegation to the International Labor Conference to negotiate new ILO recommendations on addressing HIV/AIDS in the World of Work. Levi Strauss and the Levi Strauss Foundation also played significant roles in the International AIDS Conferences in Toronto in 2006 and Mexico City in 2008, presenting key results for addressing HIV/AIDS in the workplace, findings around insurance policy exclusions for the disease and supporting dialogue on human rights for people living with HIV/AIDS.