Assuming the role of chief diversity, equity and inclusion officer at Levi Strauss & Co. (LS&Co.) in November 2020, Elizabeth Morrison brought with her more than 20 years of experience building corporate cultures that encompass diverse perspectives and empower employees. The moment was right, CEO Chip Bergh said at the time, after a year of deeply painful social tensions and calls for racial justice illuminated the reality that the company was not “where we need to be.”
Prior to joining Levi’s, Morrison served for three years as vice president of diversity and belonging at Live Nation Entertainment, driving a creative approach to cultivating diversity and a rich culture through communications and analytics. She led Campbell Soup Company’s global diversity and inclusion efforts before that and spent eight years at Comcast working to drive employee engagement and culture.
“This is an unprecedented time of awakening and accountability for diversity, inclusion, belonging and racial justice, and I’m excited to build on LS&Co.’s core values to drive systemic and sustainable change for our employees, consumers and communities,” Morrison said.
What is the biggest misconception that consumers have about sustainable denim?
The biggest misconceptions consumers may have about sustainable denim is that it’s impossible. At Levi Strauss & Co., we are showing that sustainable denim is not only possible, but it’s possible at scale. Whether it’s our continued focus on quality and durability in design; our efforts to reduce the environmental footprint of cotton cultivation; our work to scale the use of less resource intensive alternative fibers; our initiatives to decrease waste and further reduce our carbon footprint; or our efforts to build out our in-store Levi’s Tailor Shops and SecondHand offerings to extend the life of garments—sustainability is woven into everything we do.
What can the denim industry do to ensure a positive post-pandemic rebound?
One area, and one that’s closest to my heart, where denim companies can focus to emerge stronger from the pandemic is on diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I). We know that diverse businesses are stronger businesses. Driving DE&I progress is not only a moral imperative, but also a business imperative. Denim companies should be investing in strategies and programs to attract, retain and grow diverse talent. They should also be working to create an inclusive and safe culture that speaks to both their employees and consumers.
Skinny jeans: Over or a new staple?
The Levi’s brand is one of the most democratic brands in the world and we are proud to offer our consumers an incredible range of fits, from skinny to loose—where we’re seeing a resurgence—and all options in between. In my opinion, skinny jeans will always be a staple (I’m keeping mine!). But we’re excited about the new denim cycle.
How can denim retail improve?
Denim retail can improve by actively working to serve and represent the diverse range of consumers in the communities in which our companies operate. From the product ranges we offer to how our retail stylists interact with and serve consumers, every aspect of the retail experience should be examined from a diversity, equity and inclusion perspective.
Which jeans do you wear the most, and why?
Currently my loose fit, boyfriend jeans – still so super comfortable and about 10 years old, so seriously comfy and worn in.