By Michael Fields
It’s natural to have a desire to do good and make positive changes in the world, but can a single person make much difference? The simple answer is “yes.” Let’s take a look at how you personally can make a big difference in someone’s life, and also the environment with a simple purchase. When you make purchases from socially responsible companies, you give back to others and do good while meeting your personal needs. Sounds like a win-win!
If you don’t think only a few people can make a difference, consider the four friends who founded Warby Parker. Their goal to bring affordable, fashionable, high-quality eyewear to customers became a reality as they founded a website where they work directly with consumers to fill eyeglass prescriptions. To further their mission of bringing sight to the world, Warby Parker also partners with non-profits like VisionSpring to donate glasses to those in need. Today, for every pair of eyeglasses or even sunglasses the company sells, they donate a pair to someone in need.
In Indonesia, the efficient, popular motorbike has become a serious pollution problem. Tires and other parts often end up in landfills where they will stay for millennia. Indosole decided to make treasure from this trash and help out with a new line of upcycled sandals. For every two pairs of Indosole shoes or sandals salvage one tire from a landfill. Soles with soul!
If you replace your toothbrush once a month, consider the good you can do by purchasing your toothbrushes from Smile Squared. During a trip to Central America, the founders of Smile Squared came to a profound understanding of the importance of dental health and hygiene for the world’s children. They decided to make a difference by making an eco-friendly bamboo toothbrush that also gives back. Today, each purchase of a BPA-free toothbrush from Smile Squared results in a toothbrush being donated to children in need.
Most women can throw down some serious money on jewelry and accessories. Why not give back to other women with such a purchase? Jewelry from 31 Bits is crafted from 100 percent recycled paper and other recyclables by women in poverty-stricken countries. Women who work with 31 Bits receive fair and consistent compensation, and the company also helps to train them to develop their own careers. Each woman who graduates from the 31 Bits program has established a sustainable means of income for herself.
The sole founder of Jatalo, Aditya Viswanathan, fully understands the power of a single person standing to make a difference. On a trip to India, he discovered that many children there could not attend school because of the high cost of textbooks. His company, Jatalo, was founded to raise money for these children. Today, each fashionable backpack Jatalo sells provides the funds for one child to get a year’s worth of textbooks.
image source: http://www.climate.unc.edu/