30 August 2016
It is no longer acceptable for business to neglect their social responsibility within society and as consumers become more knowledgable and passionate about the environment, the workers in the supply chain and the products we ultimately consume, the companies have got to step up. We have chosen our top 5 socially responsible companies that showcase how producing to consume inevitably creates waste but great products and services don’t have to come at a price for the planet. From reducing waste and CO2 emissions, to paying workers a fair-trade wage and sourcing sustainable materials, you can give back to the community and minimise the impact on the planet whilst still producing top quality goods. The companies we have chosen go beyond the expected to help, inspire and support the people around them. From grants and financial support to volunteering programmes and training centres, these companies are passionate about lasting change for future generations.
The Lego Group believe that children are our role models and our future. This is why they have embedded responsibility to children throughout their operations. They are the first global partner of UNICEF and this allows them to strengthen child protection and to drive awareness of how companies can generate positive change for children.
The company wish to provide our children, the leaders of tomorrow, with a healthy planet and this is why they are committed to reducing CO2 emissions and responsibly sourcing their materials. In 2015, they made 175 million 2×4 Lego bricks from reground material, thereby reducing their use of resources.
The Lego group have also partnered with WWF to help significantly reduce their CO2 emissions to ultimately make the planet a better place for future generations. The company also prides themselves on going beyond compliance and leading the way in the development of better standards for business conduct. The business values are transparent and are based on being caring and ethical in all policy areas including health and safety, human rights and culture.
“It is at the very heart of our company to always strive to do better. We aspire to give children the best play experiences, to be the best partner to work with, to be the best workplace for our employees and to be the best company for society.”
Kjeld Kirk Kristiansen, third-generation owner.
TOMS began its journey when founder, Blake Mycoskie witnessed the hardships faced by children in Argentina who grew up without shoes. From this point on the mission for TOMS was to provide children in need with a new pair of shoes, which is where the concept One for One was born. With every pair of TOMS shoes that are bought, the company donates a pair to a child. They have give over 60 million pair of shoes in over 70 countries since 2006.
The company has since continued to develop and grow. In 2011 TOMS eyewear launched, helping restore sight to over 400,000 people in need. Not only does purchasing TOMS eyewear donate a pair to some in need but it also helps to support sustainable community-based eye care programs.
TOMS has expanded its product range to continue to provide support all over the world. TOMS Roasting Co Coffee helps to provide over 335,000 weeks of safe water in 6 countries whilst TOMS Bag Collection helps to provide training for skilled birth attendants and to distribute birth kits, helping over 25,000 mothers since 2015.
“Giving feels good, but it’s also good for the bottom line. Charity is a viable growth strategy for a lot of companies. Our customers get excited to be a part of what we’re doing. If you ask anyone wearing Toms how they first heard about us, most won’t mention an advertisement; they’ll say a friend told them our story.”
Blake Mycoskie, Founder
Ben & Jerry’s believe that business has a responsibility to the community and the environment. The company has a product mission that helps to make, distribute and sell the finest quality, all natural ice cream. Ben & Jerry’s commit themselves to incorporating wholesome and natural ingredients into their products, which is why they have chosen to use only Fairtrade ingredients. They support sustainable methods of foods production that provides the best conditions for the workforce, environments and communities.
Ben & Jerry’s also have a social missions that means they use their company to make the world a better place. They strive to create economic opportunities for those who have been denied them in the past, they endeavour to show a deep for respect for all human beings inside and outside the company as well as ensuring to minimise waste and their impact on the environment.
“So much business is based on the belief that we should do whatever we can within legal limits to make as much money as we can. Ben & Jerry’s was based on values, and we try to operate a business that not just sells ice cream but partners with all our stakeholders – whether that’s suppliers or customers – to bring about a more sustainable world.”
Jerry Greenfield, Founder
Patagonia grew from the founder’s love of sport and the outdoors. Patagonia believes that the nature behind the sports, that they provide gear for, have influenced their core brand values. Patagonia aims to create the best quality products without causing unnecessary harm to the environment. They also hope to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis, which is why they strive to reduce the waste that is created as a by-product to their business.
Patagonia donates their time, services and at least 1% of the sales to hundreds of environmental groups all over the world. The company believes in making a stand for the things that matter. The protection of the environment isn’t what they do as a side project, it’s the reason they’re in business.
The company prides itself on their environmental campaigns, their corporate partnerships, the environmental grants and support they give as well as their commitment to supplying a fair wage, working environment and safe conditions throughout the supply chain.
“I believe the accepted model of capitalism that demands endless growth deserves the blame for the destruction of nature, and it should be displaced. Failing that, I try to work with those companies and help them change the way they think about our resources.”
Yvon Chouinard, Founder
Starbucks vision is to elevate their partners, customers, suppliers and neighbors to create positive change. Starbucks believes that without protecting and supporting the people within the supply chain, the company cannot provide the high quality products they produce. They are committed to offering ethically sources and responsibly produced products, from their coffee to tea, cocoa and the manufactured goods they have on offer in their stores.
Starbucks also recognises the impact that producing products has on the environment, which is why they are dedicated to integrating new solutions to create meaningful change by reducing waste, conserving water and energy sources and finding ways to combat climate change.
Starbucks are not only passionate about the environment and creating sustainable projects but they are also passionate about people. The Starbucks Foundation was created as part of their commitment to strengthen communities. The Foundation has given $6.9 million in 2015 making 128 grants to nonprofit organizations. The company partners with various charities, promotes and supports volunteering programmes as well as promotes a diverse culture within their business and stores worldwide.
“When you’re surrounded by people who share a passionate commitment around a common purpose, anything is possible.”
Howard Schultz, CEO