14 Harv. Hum. Rts. J. 285 (2001)
Book Notes

handle is hein.journals/hhrj14 and id is 291 raw text is: Book Notes

Levi's Children: Coming to Terms with Human Rights in the Global Marketplace.
By Karl Schoenberger. New York: Atlantic Monthly Press, 2000. Pp. 290.
$25.00, cloth.
Levi's Children explores the complex dynamics that define contemporary
discussions about the social responsibility of multinational corporations. In
particular, the book addresses the tensions that surround attempts to foster
corporate accountability in the area of human rights. Karl Schoenberger ad-
dresses these topics through a revealing and sympathetic profile of Levi
Strauss & Co. (Levi's), interwoven with a comprehensive look at the broad
array of actors that influence corporate decision-making. His analysis pro-
vides a needed voice to the dialogue on corporate activities, for it is neither
condemnatory nor laudatory. Rather Schoenberger provides a realist's view of
the choices facing corporate management in a globalized economy and high-
lights the exemplary characteristics of one of the apparel industry's icons.
Levi's was determined to operate in accordance with established ethical
guidelines before such stated principles became fashionable and prevalent
among apparel manufacturers. Credit for this ethos is in large part due to
the values of the family that has led the company for five generations, be-
ginning with Levi Strauss and ending with Robert D. Haas, the current
chairman of the board. Schoenberger outlines the history of the company
under this family's leadership, noting that it desegregated its manufacturing
facilities in the 1950s in advance of many other companies and that in 1975
it was among the first to formulate a set of formal ethical guidelines for its
business operations. More recently, Levi's drafted one of the first codes of
conduct covering international manufacturing operations, a document which
was published in 1992. In accordance with its stated principles, Levi's led
the way for many companies by withdrawing its operations from Burma in
1992 because of human rights concerns. Perhaps most notably, the company
went against the prevailing tide of global commerce in 1993 when it an-
nounced plans to withdraw from China due to concerns about human rights
violations in that country.
Schoenberger provides context for his descriptions of Levi's by laying out
the universe of institutions and individuals with whom the company must
interact. In broad strokes, the book addresses the roles of such diverse actors
as non-governmental organizations, the Clinton Administration, and the
business leaders of the World Trade Organization in setting the tone for con-
temporary discussions of corporate social responsibility. In addition, Schoen-
berger details various initiatives aimed at improving corporate conduct,

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