It’s difficult being an ethical consumer in a world that is, in many ways, well…unethical. Watching the news can be downright disheartening, and seeking out socially responsible companies is overly daunting (how can you begin to give back when you’re not really sure where to start?). But thankfully, there are ways to try to be more thoughtful with your purchases, which starts with pinpointing companies that are known for their commendable practices. The following are 7 of the most ethical products on the market, made by companies that give us hope.
If you’re looking for a cute pair of shoes with a charitable component, opt for TOMS. Their slogan is “One for one,” meaning that for every pair of TOMS that gets purchased, a pair is given to a child in need. To date, TOMS has given away more than 70 million pairs of new shoes — and the giving doesn’t stop there. TOMS also provides eye care, improved access to water, bullying prevention services on a global scale, and works hard to promote safe birthing practices around the world. They’re currently partnered with dozens of charitable organizations across more than 70 nations around the world, and beyond simply giving back, the company invests in all of the communities within their reach – something they do through the implementation of programs that promote access to healthcare, education and jobs to the communities they give to.
When DIFF Eyewear was established it had one goal in mind: to make a difference. From the beginning, the organization partnered with Eyes on Africa, a non-profit that “provides eyeglasses at no cost to Africans… in communities with no access to vision care.” Their statistics indicate that more than 1 billion people globally are in need of eyewear, primarily due to lack of access. With the purchase of each pair of sunglasses, DIFF will donate a pair of reading glasses to someone in need. But if that wasn’t enough of a reason to snag a pair, check out their online store — their shades are super chic!
The LifeStraw water filter is the perfect product for the hiker, camper, rogue traveler and humanitarian. The LifeStraw converts up to 1,000 liters of contaminated water into safe, potable drinking water, removing 99.99 percent of waterborne bacteria, including e. coli and salmonella. In 2014, the organization launched the LifeStraw Follow the Liters program, allowing the proceeds from any of its products’ sales to go toward community purifiers to be given to schools in need in the developing world. Thus, for each LifeStraw that is purchased, the organization provides safe drinking water to a child in a developing country for an entire school year. Because, as the company puts it, access to clean drinking water “should never be an issue.”
LUSH’s Charity Pot body lotion is a delicate blend of rosewood oil, cocoa butter and altruism. Seven of its primary ingredients are sourced from “sustainable Lush Fund projects that support regenerative agriculture around the world.” Additionally, when you purchase the charity pot, 100 percent of the proceeds (with the exception of taxes) are funded to grassroots campaigns globally. To date, LUSH states that its donated over $15 million dollars to more than 800 grassroots organizations around the world — organizations on the behalf of animal rights, environmentalism and humanitarian causes.
VIBES produces the high quality earbuds you’ve been searching for, and, in addition to that, gives the gift of hearing globally. It’s partnered with the Hear the World Foundation, meaning that each pair of earbuds that gets purchased allows the company to support projects that fund things like hearing aids and access to education for people around the world, with a focus on children in particular.
Krochet Kids started with three dudes who loved to crochet in their spare time, and has since grown into a full-blown nonprofit that empowers women in Northern Uganda and Peru. Armed with crochet needles, Kohl Crecelius, Stewart Ramsey, and Travis Hartanov formed their nonprofit that provides the women in these countries with careers, that in turn allows them to support their families, provides them with better access to resources and empowers them. Each piece of apparel purchased is hand-signed by the woman who crocheted it, and allows the cycle of empowerment to continue to flourish, while you get a piece of clothing that is truly unique.
It was 2008 when singer-songwriter Caitlin Crosby had the idea to engrave keys with positive affirmations, put them on chains, and sell them to her fans on tour. But after the keys became wildly popular, Crosby turned the idea into a full-on business. But it was after Caitlin met a homeless couple, Rob & Cera, on Hollywood Boulevard and hired them to engrave the keys that a charitable component came into the mix. This led to a trend of Caitlin hiring the homeless through a partnership with People Assisting the Homeless (PATH). Soon after, the organization partnered with Chrysalis, an agency dedicated to employing the homeless. Today, each purchase from their online jewelry shop “supports job creation for people transitioning out of homelessness.” Now that’s paying it forward.