Chip Bergh, CEO of Levi Strauss & Co. since 2011, is partnering with Everytown for Gun Safety in an attempt to push for stricter gun control and regulations.
The company is also partnering with other executives including former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg in order to create Everytown Business Leaders for Gun Safety, which Bergh said will be “a coalition of business leaders who believe, as we do, that business has a critical role to play in and a moral obligation to do something about the gun violence epidemic in this country.”
What did Bergh say?
In a Tuesday op-ed published in Fortune, Bergh wrote that it was important to take a stand against gun violence at such a critical time.
Bergh wrote, “As business leaders with power in the public and political arenas, we simply cannot stand by silently when it comes to the issues that threaten the very fabric of the communities where we live and work.”
“While taking a stand can be unpopular with some,” he continued, “doing nothing is no longer an option.”
According to Bergh’s op-ed, the company will set aside $1 million in donations for groups who work to eradicate U.S. gun violence.
“We can’t insulate ourselves from every threat,” Bergh said. “We can’t ‘harden’ every place we gather — whether it be our schools, workplaces, shops, churches, or entertainment venues. But we can take common sense, measurable steps like criminal background checks on all gun sales — that will save lives.”
He added, “I encourage every CEO and business leader reading this to consider the impact we could make if we stood together alongside the broad coalition of concerned parents, youth, elders, veterans, and community and faith leaders who are committed to shaping a safer path forward.”
“In the days after I published that letter, I received threats to our stores, our business, and even on my life. It was unsettling,” Bergh revealed. “But these personal attacks pale in comparison to the threats that activists and survivors from Parkland, Sandy Hook, and daily incidents of gun violence face every time they speak up on this issue.”
In his 2016 letter, Bergh wrote, “It boils down to this: you shouldn’t have to be concerned about your safety while shopping for clothes or trying on a pair of jeans. Simply put, firearms don’t belong in either of those settings. In the end, I believe we have an obligation to our employees and customers to ensure a safe environment and keeping firearms out of our stores and offices will get us one step closer to achieving that reality.”
You can read more about the company’s plan to combat gun violence here.