5 Mega Brands That Enable You to Do Good

Businesses with heart.

Dec 27, 2013

Image from TOM's Facebook page

While big business tends to get a lot of flak for being part of the problem rather than the solution, there are some good guys out there. Here is an introduction to five major brands that are enabling their users to do good, melding business with positive impact and values.

1. PATAGONIA

In 2011, outdoor apparel company Patagonia put out an ambitious ad telling people to not buy their products. While this may seem counterintuitive for a clothing company to do, Patagonia is dedicated to reducing their environmental footprint. Its Common Threads Partnership encourages people to rethink their purchases, and avoid unneeded shopping.
GOOD DOING FEATURE: If you have a Patagonia product, the company provides resources on how to repair and recycle any item. In select stores, Patagonia buys back worn apparel in good condition and is intent on reusing and repurposing goods. As an expression of their dedication, Patagonia has a lovely blog of user-contributed pictures and stories about their favorite Patagonia gear. Most recently the clothing company created a beautiful video called Worn Wear that celebrates quality craftsmanship and the stuff we already own.

Screenshot: Patagonia

2. FACEBOOK

As the most popular social network on the web, Facebook has changed the way we interact, connect and communicate with others. A new feature to join the Facebook family is called Donate and lets users directly contribute to nonprofits.
GOOD DOING FEATURE: Since you’re already on Facebook most of the time, the good-doing addition makes it even easier to give back. While 100% of donations go directly to one of the 18 participating nonprofits, Facebook invites any nonprofit to join by filling out a form - giving them an opportunity to gain visibility and well-meaning dollars.

Screenshot: Facebook

3. TOMS

TOMS shoes are comfy and look great on men, women and children alike. What makes the footwear even better is their good doing business plan: for every pair of shoes you buy from TOMS, the company donates a new pair of shoes to a kid in need of some soles.
GOOD DOING FEATURE: Being stylish can actually make a difference in someone’s life! TOMS has branched into eyewear and each pair of glasses purchased now results in providing someone with much needed eye-care in over 13 different countries including Paraguay, Bangladesh and Ethiopia.  

Screenshot: TOMS

4. BEN & JERRY’S

The ice cream with a social conscience has been around for 35 years. Besides being incredibly delicious, Ben & Jerry’s is one of the pioneers of melding business with activism. Steered by a company mission that can be seen in all aspects of their work, it’s based on three principles: social, product and economic.
GOOD DOING FEATURE: Every scoop of creamy delicious ice cream contains Fairtrade sourced ingredients, cage-free eggs and dairy that is produced humanely and sustainably. Ben & Jerry’s believes in treating their employees well and provides all workers with fair and livable wages, and yearly recalculates wages according to the cost of living in Vermont where the company is based.

Screenshot: Ben & Jerry's

5. GE

General Electric has been around for awhile, since 1896! Starting with lights, GE has delved into numerous fields from power and transportation to aviation and healthcare. Through Ecomagination, GE is designing ways to solve energy efficiency and water challenges.
GOOD DOING FEATURE: Consumers can buy GE products that are environmentally sustainable, as the company integrates their rigorous research findings into everyday appliances like dishwashers, lights, refrigerators and heaters.

Screenshot: GE