As awareness for sustainable business solutions grows, more and more companies work to constantly improve, fine tune and expand their social responsibility efforts. Though many of these companies share similar features that make their efforts successful, each company has something unique to them.
TOMS: Tom’s shoes tell a story. For every pair of shoes a customer buys, one pair is donated to a child in need. The brand name “Toms” was developed from the word “tomorrow.” When someone asks about TOMS, buyers can share the story behind their shoes and pass it along to the next customer.
REI: REI has a strong sense of community within their company. They focus on encouraging people to get outdoors and be active, while respecting nature and its spaces. One way REI worked to strengthen their community efforts were by supporting the American Outdoors Initiative. They hope to provide access and education to the community on outdoor recreational activities.
Starbucks: Starbucks focuses on long term sustainability and continuous improvement. They have worked with the U.S. Green Building Council for over 10 years to create green solutions for retail shops. Each year Starbucks advances innovative solutions to save energy, recycle and protect the environment.
Whole Foods: Whole foods believes in selling high quality, natural and organic products to provide a sustainable agricultural solution for customers and partners. “We are buying agents for our customers and not the selling agents for the manufacturers” – Whole Foods. They are able to support local farmers and merchants to help continue the local agricultural cycle.
After taking a look at only a few companies that are socially aware and work to make a difference, there are obvious elements of success.
4 elements of successful corporate social responsibility:
- Tell a story – TOMS
- Create a community – REI
- Provide something long term – Starbucks
- Be sustainable – Whole Foods