As we round up the year at ArCompany we look back at 12 months filled with tremendously hard work, high stakes decision making, and, thankfully, a fast growing client list. 2103 has been good to us. This year has been particularly fulfilling for me; when we founded the company I was looking for an intellectual challenge and fascinating work. THAT I scored in droves.
Of all the things that have made my professional life more interesting in 2013, this Social Justice post series is special; discovering so many entrepreneurs and corporate citizens focused on making money, yes, but making the world a better place because they want to has buoyed my attitude about my fellow man and changed the way I spend my own money.
So, for this pre-Christmas post I give you 10 Companies that are doing tremendous good:
Kyle Parsons founded Indosole after a trip to Indonesia after he heard about spontaneous combustion in landfills filled with discarded tires. Inspired by a pair of sandals he found there, Parsons founded Indosole to re-purpose used tires, and for every 2 pair of shoes made, one tire is re-used and saved from a landfill.
Unlike the other companies we’ve featured so far on Social Justice, Rootz doesn’t actually make anything. What it does is bring social good minded consumers together with brands who share their values. Founded in 2009 by Brent Freeman, Nick Reder, and Norma LaRosa in 2009, the company was originally called MARCsMovement.com, and acronym for Moral And Responsible Companies.
Rootz doesn’t just sell things, it allows you to start, and share your ‘movement,’ as you choose what causes you’d like to support before you purchase, and then add products to your cart that support your causes.
Joe Demin and Rachel Connors founded Yellow Leaf hammocks after two very different life experiences: Joe was searching for the perfect hammock, and Rachel had a hammock phobia after a childhood accident falling from one.
Yellow Leaf Hammocks are made in the hills of Thailand by artisans who are paid fair wages. Apart from doing a lot of good, the company has a light- hearted air and the best hammocks you’ll ever relax in.
If you’re the parent of a small child, you’re probably familiar with products from The Honest Company; their natural juices have been packed into the lunch boxes of kids for years now. What you may not know is that the company was founded by Christopher Gavigan and Jessica Alba – yes, that’s Hollywood’s Jessica Alba.
The team that designed Ditto Hangers are actually from Green Heart Global, who set out, in their own words to be:
“a new type of corporation which uses the power of business to solve social and environmental problems.”
Their goal was to design attractive products that “incorporate recycled, recyclable, rapidly renewable and/or bio-based materials, and replace toxic and non-sustainable materials with organic or natural alternatives, including inks, dyes, and adhesives.”
Ditto hangers have been picked up by large corporations, including Levi Strauss, and they’re making an impact on one of the most challenging aspects of the retail industry.
This is a company you may not have heard of, even if you bought their apparel at your university book store. Founded by Drew Wolf 20 years ago, LCO manufactures high quality, vintage styled apparel through college book stores. But they don’t make this list because of their soft and stylish sweat shirts.
When their Guatemala based supplier was going out of business in 2009, the company bought the facility and kept their employees. They also saw a real opportunity to do good, and proceeded by creating a cafeteria that feeds over 200 people breakfast and lunch daily, wages above the legal requirement for this region Centro De Desarrolla Infantil League, a daycare for their employees so mothers do not have to leave children at home when they work, a Savings & Loan program, a clean water bottling program, hiring spouses and family members to increase overall household income, and social services to aid employees and those in the community with disabilities.
They also have a Gang Rehabilitation program in El Salvador.
7. CDI Ventures
Rodrigo Baggio founded CDI in Brasil 1995 to take aim at a problem that certainly inspires the founders of ArCompany, which was:
to democratize the access to Information Technology and Communications.
The first social venture initiative of CDI is CDI Lan, which incorporates a network of cybercafes to provide education and financial inclusion. There are now 6,500 cybercafes members providing training to small entrepreneurs.
Their website emphasizes their principles, with the statement “We believe in the potential of the human being and technology as liberation and empowerment tool.”
The regular readers of this series will be familiar with a company I featured and mention frequently; I am fixated on Sword & Plough because it’s one of the most inspiring companies I’ve come across. Founded by Emily Nunez who serves as its CEO while stationed in Afghanistan, Sword & Plough re-purposes military materials destined for landfills, employs jobless veterans at a fair wage, and creates incredibly styled products.
The company has caught the attention of a lot of movers and shakers, and is offered on Tom’s Marketplace. The bags are so popular that, last time I checked they were back ordered by over 1000 and due for delivery in
the Spring of 2014. They have the kind of problems all business owners dream of.
10. Fed by Threads
I just featured this company, founded by Jade Beall and Alok Appadurai, last week in this space, but I love the products and their social good goals so much they had to make my list. Their gorgeous, organic and re-purposed clothing is all made in the USA with products produced here. If you haven’t discovered them yet, and you love well designed apparel, just browse their website and you’ll fall for them too.
VP of Content & Strategy at ArCompany. She has an extensive background in Sales, and focuses on generational marketing and content. With Hessie Jones she founded ArCompany’s Millnnnial, GenX and Boomer Think Tanks and writes and speaks on those topics from an insights/strategy perspective.