5 Companies Making a Difference Through Their Products

by / ⠀Entrepreneurship / May 8, 2024
5 Companies Making a Difference Through Their Products

Just 18 years ago, TOMS kicked off the craze of giving back as a corporation. Their big, bold idea? Donate one pair of shoes for every pair sold. The program’s simplicity and elegance made waves — and brought TOMS serious respect as a company willing to “walk the walk”.

Though TOMS didn’t invent corporate philanthropy, it made it seem more accessible, attractive, and even fun. And today, plenty of companies are taking the TOMS route by flexing their corporate social responsibility (CSR) muscles. Their goal is to do good. It’s a great objective, especially since doing good can help companies reap rewards.

Take the impact on brand reputation, for instance. According to a recent Certus study, 70% of consumers take a brand’s CSR into consideration when shopping. Millennials, a group with tremendous purchasing power, are especially motivated by a brand’s CSR. Consequently, businesses that prioritize sustainability, environmentalism, or social justice can improve their credibility. This helps attract and retain more customers in the long run.

If you like the idea of making a difference with your brand (and netting the associated benefits,) why not join this bandwagon? To kickstart your CSR initiative in a way that makes sense, align your CSR outreach with what you sell. That way, consumers will see a natural connection between your products and your philanthropic efforts.

Want inspiration? Consider the clever ways five businesses are addressing major world issues with their innovative and brand-aligned CSR programs.

1. Simply Good Jars

What happens after someone buys your merchandise? You may feel like you have no control over whether they make earth-friendly decisions. However, you have more input than you think.

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Consider the bold move made by health-focused Simply Good Jars. The Certified B-Corporation company offers tantalizing layered chef-crafted salads, parfaits, and other meals sold in jars. Though the company wants fans to buy jars and eat up, it also wants them to recycle responsibly. That’s why Simply Good Jars requests that buyers make a post-purchase pledge to either recycle or reuse the jars.

To date, Simply Good Jars’ CSR program has saved more than 8,700 pounds of trash from ending up in landfills. In addition, the tech-forward internal food preparation and processes Simply Good Jars uses encourage less food spoilage. Also, whenever possible, their ingredients are locally sourced from within 500 miles of each production facility. It’s all part of a zero-waste mission that’s a driving force behind the brand’s business model.

2. Mud Jeans

When you think of leasing programs, does your brain automatically turn to cars or apartments? Not so fast. Mud Jeans wants you to consider leasing your pants.

The Mud Jeans leasing premise is ingenious and highly unique. Instead of purchasing a pair of jeans from this high-end fashion brand, you could lease your jeans. For a low monthly payment, you could wear your favorite denim for a year. When your lease is up, you have two choices. Either send the jeans back or keep them. If you choose the former, Mud Jeans will recycle as much of the fabric and hardware as it can.

Given that the fashion industry is woefully wasteful and climate-harming, Mud Jeans’ leasing arrangement couldn’t have happened at a better time. Not only does it keep jeans from becoming trash, but it also provides eco-minded customers with a reason to stay brand loyal.

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3. Project Repat

T-shirts. We all have some that we love but don’t wear. Thanks to the visionary founders of Project Repat, those t-shirts can have a new life.

If you’re unfamiliar with Project Repat, it’s a boutique online company that sells one-of-a-kind bedwear made from buyers’ t-shirts. Their goal is to repurpose the t-shirts so they can become more useful. From a CSR perspective, the notion has quite a bit of charm. It’s hard to argue with the idea of showcasing older t-shirts rather than letting them collect dust — or wind up in the garbage.

Project Repat gets an extra nod because its CSR focus serves as a terrific digital marketing lever. Since all Project Repat quilts and blankets are distinctive, they lend themselves to social media bragging. This boosts the brand’s amount of user-generated content (UGC), helping cost-effectively expand its messaging.

4. Babybel

No cheese company has quite perfected the art of cheese snacking like Babybel. Featuring cheeses available in individual containers, the brand has cornered the market on convenience. Nevertheless, Babybel’s packaging often ends up being discarded. However, the company is dissuading that tendency with a recycling campaign.

Consumers are encouraged by Babybel to send back any of their cheese containers. From wax packaging and metal clasps to plastic pouches, any containers are fair game. To participate, Babybel buyers just need to enroll to gain access to printable shipping labels.

As a thank you, Babybel doles out recycling rewards for every package that’s returned. Customers enrolled in the recycling program can use those rewards to make donations to a charity or nonprofit of their choice. Per their website, Babybel has already donated millions through this CSR-based program.

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5. Swedish Stockings

Wearers of hosiery and tights know that, inevitably, runs and holes are going to happen. Yet it’s not a reason to just toss them away. Instead, they can have a second life and help companies like Swedish Stockings move toward closed-loop systems.

A closed-loop system involves using old materials to make new ones. Though getting to a 100% closed loop is tough, Swedish Stockings is trying. Consumers are asked to send in at least three pairs of pantyhose from any brand. Once that pantyhose is received, the donator will get an exclusive 10% off code from Swedish Stockings. It’s a nice incentive to both recycle and keep shopping with the company.

What happens to those pantyhose? Believe it or not, they’re being used to make furniture. It’s a radical answer (and a true holistic win) to the issue of unusable hosiery.

Telling consumers that you want to do your part isn’t enough. These days, you need to put action behind your words when it comes to CSR. And the more you differentiate your CSR solutions, the more you’ll stand out and get noticed while nurturing the planet and its people.

About The Author

Kimberly Zhang

Editor in Chief of Under30CEO. I have a passion for helping educate the next generation of leaders.


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