Saturday, September 1, 2007

Sustainable & Responsible Business of the Week - TOMS Shoes


Where do I begin?

I'll start by saying I'm a huge fan of sustainable and responsible businesses--those that are deeply committed to using their business as a source of positive change.

So today, I'll start by telling you about TOMS Shoes. TOMS Shoes was founded by Blake Mycoskie. At the core of TOMS’ business model is a strong value system devoted to giving away one pair of shoes to needy children for every pair of shoes that is purchased. Their strategy includes manufacturing their own low-cost shoes in Argentina and Asia (following fair trade and fair labor standards) and then selling the shoe at a retail price point that allows them to donate a second pair to a child in need in Argentina and other developing countries while still making a profit. How great is that?

9/6/07 update: TOMS and Blake Mycoskie are featured in an article in the Sept. 10, 2007 edition of People Magazine.


jipowers said...

This approach is also being used with the BOGO (buy one give one) light in which for each solar flashlight bought the company donates one to an impoverished recipient otherwise relying on kerosene, candles, or conventional batteries for lighting at night. You can read the article at the International Relief and Development website at said...

You asked "what could be better than that?". Well, how about a community that makes its shoes for the local (or world) market, and can buy there OWN shoes?

The economic impacts of a company conducting business as usual and then giving away their profits it just not one that creates real, enduring wealth. The adverse impacts (both social and environmental)of 'business as usual' are significantly greater than the declared profits of that enterprise.

We need to change the system that creates this poverty, not just mask poverty with new shoes.

I have no idea if what I write has anything to do with Mycoskie's business model as he gives no glimpse of his actual enterprise.

Hopefully, food for thought...

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