Brands are linking customer purchases to tangible do-good initiatives.
With businesses like TOMS Shoes and Warby Parker, we’ve seen the rise of the “Buy One, Give One Away” business model—a strategy we highlighted in our 2011 100 Things to Watch List. Now, we’re seeing more brands linking customer purchases to tangible do-good initiatives. Apparel maker United by Blue, a certified B Corp, says it has “one hand in the apparel industry and the other hand in waste management.” That’s because UBB vows to remove a pound of trash from oceans and waterways for each item sold (since launching in 2010, they’ve removed some 83,000 pounds of junk). The company proudly “does its own dirty work,” as the UBB website lays out, and the brand-organized cleanup events serve as organic community-building experiences for the volunteers, typically local residents. With more cause-minded products and CSR activities launched every day, socially focused efforts will increasingly need to promise tangible results so that customers associate each purchase with a measurable benefit.