TOMS was the company that harbored the most association with a business that supplied help to other parts of the world via the proceeds that it gave based on consumer purchases. The image still remains for the company, however, many other businesses have begun to follow in their footsteps, pledging to give a certain amount from a purchase to a cause such as clean water or supplying jobs for local artisans.
Read on to learn about five companies that are helping to make the world a better place.
See also: What’s the story behind these 7 brand names?
1. Warby Parker
Warby Parker is more than fancy hipster-esque glasses. Warby Parker was started when a group of students started to think about and discuss just how expensive glasses are. After one of the group members lost their pair on a backpacking trip and couldn't afford to replace them, the students started Warby Parker in an attempt to offer designer-quality eyewear at more affordable prices.
However, the company does more good than just that. Every month the company tallies the number of glasses they have sold and makes a monthly donation to their nonprofit partners. This money covers the cost of sourcing that month's number of glasses. To go a step further, nonprofit partners train men and women in developing countries to give basic eye exams and sell glasses to their communities at prices the population of that community can afford.
The motto here is that donations, though they give immediate relief, do not support or create sustainability, but rather dependency. The training Warby Parker helps to provide allows for members in those communities to make a living.
2. Pura Vida Bracelets
A college graduation trip turned into this do-good company after friends Griffin Thall and Paul Goodman wet to Costa Rica. While the two friends were there, they crossed paths with two local artisans. Once they saw their living arrangements (they were living in a single room with three beds shared by several other members of their family) and the beautiful work they did, they asked the artisans if they could make 400 bracelets to take back to the states with them. Thall and Goodman took the bracelets back to California and they sold out almost immediately.
"Pura Vida" means "pure life" in Spanish, and according to the company website, "it's about being free and living life to the fullest." The company helps supply jobs and a sustainable income to artisans in Costa Rica, and also has a line of charity bracelets that give a percentage of the proceeds to the organization or cause associated with the bracelet that is purchased.
3. People Water
People Water is a for-profit, care-based company based in Salt Lake City, Utah with the goal of providing clean water to those in need of it. With a business plan very similar to TOMS, People Water claims that for every bottle of water sold, the same amount of clean water will be given to a person in need. The company does this via projects in different areas of the world, such as drilling a new well, repairing an existing well, or establishing a water purification system. They have reached countries such as Nicaragua, India, Ghana, and Haiti.
This beautiful bracelet has two beads filled with different elements that are meant to symbolize the highs and the lows of life. The "high" is represented by a bead filled with water from Mount Everest, and the "low" is represented by a bead filled with mud from the Dead Sea. The bracelet is meant to promote a sense of balance and the ability to remain centered along life's journey. When you are low, stay hopeful, and when you are feeling like you are on top of the world, remain humble.
"Life is full of joy and sadness, and we can all relate to its highs and lows," says Steven Izen, the founder of lokai. "I hope that lokai will remind you to stay balanced and centered along your journey." 10% of net profits are given to several charitable alliances.
5. Falling Whistles
Falling Whistles is the result of a very tragic and eye-opening experience for a young traveler named Sean who traveled through eastern Congo in 2008. There, he met five child soldiers in a military encampment. When Sean returned home to the United States, he wanted to spread the word about the deadly war happening in the Congo. In 2013, Falling Whistles celebrated the appointments of 2 Special Envoy’s from the US and the UN with mandates to end the war.
The company has done several profitable projects throughout Eastern Congo including healthcare and rehabilitation projects in Goma and a community project in Idjwi that involved giving loans to a local women’s group that proposed four businesses.