We are all aware of social responsibility as being responsible for ourselves, what we eat, what we drink, doing our best to keep ourselves fit and healthy. Social responsibly also includes having a responsible attitude toward others, those around us. Not just people but helping maintain a balanced ecosystem using recyclable materials, or purchasing products where an element of profit goes to help others worse off. There's more, have you heard of Social Enterprise?
Social enterprise, an enterprise started with an in-built social conscience. Toms Shoes is one such business, started as a business selling shoes in 2006, the founder, Blake Mycoskie built into his business a non-profit arm, for every pair of shoes they sell they give a pair of shoes to an impoverished youngster in need.
Giving back to others
How good is that? Think about it, YOU buy a pair of shoes from Toms and it’s like YOU have given some needy child, somewhere in the world, a pair of shoes for nothing.
The number of entrepreneurs starting similar social enterprise businesses has been steadily growing over the last ten years. Using a similar format as Toms B1G1 (Buy one, Give one), or donating a percentage of profits to good causes.
Born out of tragedy
Another such company is Gandys. A new business started by two brothers who lost both parents in the Boxing Day Tsunami of 2004 which hit Indonesia the hardest. Sri Lanka, Thailand and India were also devastated, in total over 230,000 people died.
Making an impact on the less fortunate
Gandys currently specialises in flip-flops for men, women and youths, wristbands for men, women and youths and waistbands for girls. Their social enterprise arm, the “Orphans for Orphans” mission, helps with such things as food, education and shelter for orphans like themselves and is already making a big impact in its chosen aims.
A helping hand
Business acumen and financial investment were required to allow the brothers’ future plans to be realised, but they wanted someone with a social conscience as well as business experience. To this end ‘The Brother’s Den’ was set up in a bar in London and a selection of entrepreneurs invited, in flip-flops of course. Dominic List of Channel 4’s ‘Secret Millionaire’ was the one picked to help with the expansion plans for the business and its social enterprises.
Never standing still
As Gandys looks to the future, so does Toms Shoes. Having branched into eyewear in 2011, for every pair sold, a donation goes from the company to help restore people’s eyesight in developing countries. So far their contribution has restored eyesight to 175,000 people.
In 2014 ‘Toms Roasting Company’ was formed with the aim of providing funds for clean water. With every jar of coffee sold a contribution goes into the fund for clean water in developing countries.
It's time to make a difference
More large companies are involved than one would think. Remember those adverts; buy a bottle of this water and one penny will be donated to clean water elsewhere in the world. Doesn’t sound much but that one penny may well be 10% profit on that particular item. That’s social enterprise; that’s you helping the poor of the world.