22 Businesses That Are Changing the World
When businesses give back to the community, everybody wins. Here are some savvy corporations with a heart, that are doing it right.
Spreading good in the world, as well as the home
THREADED is an affordable, all-natural bedding brand known for top-notch, incredibly soft sheets, shams, duvet covers, and blankets (we’re loving the modern Honeycomb Melange Duvet in 100 percent cotton). They work with factories primarily in India that are mostly owned or managed by women. THREADED’s factories favor non-toxic materials, eschewing plastics and chemicals for coconut buttons and organic cotton. Their partner factories rely on water recycling and solar power. THREADED’s goal is to provide factory workers with an ecologically conscious, safe place to work without compromising quality. At the same time, you can manufacture products that do not add waste or pollution to the environment and can support female empowerment. Read about 10 lives that were forever changed thanks to the power of generosity.
Supporting creativity and communities at home and abroad
Subscription box company GlobeIn sells eclectic, unique homeware hand-made from every corner of the world. They source these lovely, fair trade products directly from local artisans from countries such as Ghana and Peru, providing them with a global customer base and an income. Not only is the merchandise spectacular—we love the Moroccan hand-painted platters, the Caminito woven basket, and the Nepal Namaste Light Roast coffee—but so is the social and economic impact of its business. For example, GlobeIn has fed hungry children in the United States, employed homeless women and artisans in Malaysia, provided sanctuary for elephants in Rwanda, and facilitated an income stream for disabled artists in Cambodia.
Being a light in the darkness for young homeless moms
Homelessness and poverty have reached epidemic levels in the United States, with more children living in shelters nationwide than ever before. An extraordinary social enterprise is helping young mothers in this situation beat the odds through a paid job-training program. Chicago-based Bright Endeavors teaches homeless moms how to create and make soy candles in a supportive, professional environment. You can support these young families by making a tax-deductible donation, by volunteering, or by buying a candle this holiday season. The Honey-Vanilla is our favorite! Learn how one pair of socks led to a movement that helped 350,000 homeless people.
What’s really behind the golden door
Denizens of holistic living know California’s Golden Door spa as a sanctuary, where guests can revive their body, mind, and soul. Many don’t know, however, that 100 percent of The Golden Door’s net proceeds go to charity. The philanthropic missions that benefit from this generous support include the I Have a Dream Foundation, the Whole Planet Foundation, and The New York Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children. If you can’t swing a spa visit, Golden Door sells wonderful bath and body and skincare products, including handmade Kasu soaps, Hinoki Shea Body Butter, and Golden Face Oil.
Giving thanks, giving food
For many, Thanksgiving is more about the food than about the thanks, or the giving. A new startup, Turkey on the Table, is trying to change that, especially in the hearts of children. The company was started by two moms on a mission to teach kids and adults the true meaning of Thanksgiving while making sure that no one goes hungry that day or any day. Turkey on the Table sells activity kits that turn being thankful into a daily exercise during the entire month of November. For every kit sold, Turkey on the Table donates $1 to the hunger-relief organization Feeding America, which buys ten meals for individuals experiencing food insecurity in the United States. You’ll never believe what these 12 girls created to battle homelessness in their community.
Safeguarding the world’s beauty and culture for future generations
Travel brand Trafalgar wants to ensure that the wild and wonderful places they take tourists to visit get to stay that way. JoinTrafalgar is a bold initiative in sustainable tourism, promoted through the company’s nonprofit arm. JoinTrafalgar’s mission is to support the economies of local communities around the world so that they can maintain their locale’s natural beauty, culture, and traditions. Travelers can help by getting involved in the Be My Guest initiative, which enables tourists worldwide to eat foods that are natively sourced, meet local artisans, and learn about new cultures in a hands-on way. For example, in Perugia, Italy, Trafalgar is working to preserve the ancient art of lacquered-loom hand weaving by taking tourists to visit a local weaver. This helps the weaver sell more goods while educating travelers on local customs.
Chocolate that restores the rainforest
Everyone loves to eat chocolate, but Alter Eco organic chocolate also gives back to the farmers and the land on which it grows. Alter Eco works with cacao partner, Acopagro Coop, to replant and conserve a portion of the Peruvian Amazon—an effort that improves the quality and yield of crops, boosts biodiversity, and provides a retirement plan for farmers in the form of sustainable forestry once the trees mature. Now through December 25, for every purchase of Alter Eco Holiday Gift Boxes—with rich Swiss-made chocolate bars, truffles, and clusters—Alter Eco will plant a tree in the Peruvian Amazon where its fair trade farmers grow its organic cacao. Not only will you be giving your loved one a decadent treat, but you’ll also be giving back to Mother Earth, a drool-worthy win-win this holiday season!
When it comes to organic cruelty-free lotions and potions, The Body Shop is leading the charge. The store chain was one of the first to receive Leaping Bunny certification for their commitment to cruelty-free best practices. The brand recently signed a petition started by Cruelty Free International, imploring the United Nations to ban worldwide animal testing, such as the Draize eye test for cosmetics. Recently, The Body Shop and Cruelty Free International presented over eight million signatures supporting the petition at the U.N. You can help further this cause by signing the petition. To check if your self-care products are cruelty-free, this is what the symbols on the back of your hair and beauty products really mean.
Helping coffee farmers laugh all the way to the bank
Unfair wages for coffee farmers is no laughing matter—just ask Hugh Jackman. The hunky Australian actor may be better known for his role in The Wolverine than for his philanthropic company, Laughing Man Coffee. However, it is through this effort that he is making his largest impact. Laughing Man Coffee’s philanthropic arm helps to support coffee farmers and their communities, ensuring fair wages and maintaining sustainable, ecological practices. Not bad for a simple cup of Joe. You can help by buying great-tasting Laughing Man Coffee at Target.
Spreading holiday cheer to the hungry
Each year, Kiehl’s, in conjunction with artist Andrew Bannecker, produces Kiehl’s Collection for a Cause. This limited edition daily skin-care gift set would be awesome to give or get based on its merits alone. But for extra incentive, Kiehl’s contributes 100 percent of this gift set’s profits to Feeding America, providing around one million meals to families in need during the holiday season. You can help by purchasing a gift set, volunteering at a homeless shelter or food pantry, or by making a direct contribution to Feeding America.
Helping survivors of domestic violence find strength
At its root, Josefinas is a cool shoe brand created by women to support and inspire women around the world. In partnership with organizations such as She Is Rising, Josefinas is currently striving to bring an end to domestic violence. Their striking You Can Leave collection is comprised of three sneaker styles and one shoelace style, which tout proactive messages, geared toward helping women find the strength to leave dangerous or abusive relationships. Thirty percent of each sale goes toward fighting domestic abuse. Don’t miss our list of holiday gifts that give back.
The philanthropic power of a million-dollar smile
Julian and Cody Levine started the toothpaste company, Twice, along with musician Lenny Kravitz after participating in a dental care mission to Eleuthera. After seeing the difference that access to dental care made to those without it, the trio became dedicated to helping provide these services to underserved communities worldwide. Toward that end, they donate 10 percent of the profits from their day/night toothpaste duo sales to the GLO Good Foundation, a nonprofit devoted to eliminating the physical and emotional pain which can result from not having access to dental care. You can support their mission by buying toothpaste or by making a donation directly to GLO.
Art gives back
Inspired by the Miami art scene, two world travelers founded the Oliver Gal Artist Company, a burgeoning art and lifestyle brand with a heart. Its founders, sisters, and artists Lola Sanchez and Ana Sanchez Gal, created a custom art piece on canvas, Chie’s Freedom Wings, in honor of their cousin, Chie, who tested positive for the BRCA-1 gene and opted for a double mastectomy. Every purchase of Chie’s Freedom Wings supports The Basser Center for BRCA, a research center working towards the prevention of BRCA-related cancers. These are the most heartwarming acts of kindness from 2018.
Saving animals from horrific conditions
If you love dogs, you’ll love the work Good Cubed does on their behalf. The online beauty store is known for selling skincare, hair, and makeup products that are cruelty-free and 100 percent free of toxins. The company gives one percent of each sale to the Rescue and Freedom Project, a non-profit organization that rescues animals of all kinds living in horrible conditions. They are known primarily for their many laboratory rescues of beagles, a gentle dog breed often used for experimentation because of their amenable nature. You can donate directly to the Rescue and Freedom Project, sponsor an animal or a rescue, or buy some of their clean beauty products—including Vegan Rose Nourishing Serum with Rosehip, Erbaviva Awaken Body Lotion, and Yarok Feed Your Volume Vegan Shampoo.
A jolt of hope
You already know about caffeine’s power to keep you energized for even the toughest day. But what if your first cup of Joe could also provide hope and support for first responders injured on the job? No one understands the need for a high-octane start better than firefighters. America’s Bravest also know, first hand, how much support is needed for the men and women who are injured in the line of duty. So it shouldn’t be a surprise that a group of cool, coffee-loving firefighters would start Fire Dept. Coffee, a brand of excellent brews, some of which are spirit-infused. Ten percent of proceeds from each sale go to support injured or ill firefighters and other first responders. These compassion quotes are sure to inspire spontaneous acts of kindness.
Vines Islandwear was started in the U.S. Virgin Islands, where comfy, eco-friendly sandals are the laid-back, status symbol of choice. (We’re loving the Vines Islandwear Women’s X-Flat Sandal Harmony.) Company founders Liz Ylitalo Eckert of Nashville and Michelle Pappas of St. John created a giving program to donate one pair of sandals to Soles4Souls for each pair sold. Soles4Souls is a Nashville-based nonprofit that creates sustainable jobs and helps to end the cycle of poverty by distributing shoes and clothing around the world. Here are 10 bizarre things you didn’t know you could donate.
After war, designing jewelry with a purpose
Though it may not have felt like it at the time, Kelsi Sheren was one of the lucky ones. The seasoned soldier, who had served on the front lines in Afghanistan, was going home with severe PTSD. Driven by a passion to give back to vets who come home with less, the impossible-to-stop Sheren founded Brass & Unity, a line of jewelry that uses upcycled brass shell casings to create beautiful, handmade rings, bracelets, and necklaces. We’re loving the Howlite Warrior Bracelet, made with tranquility stones that help eliminate stress. A portion of their proceeds goes towards funding programs worldwide, which help veterans with physical or emotional injuries live their best lives. Here is the ultimate holiday gift guide for supporting our veterans.
Send in the dogs
Message t-shirt and product company Teddy the Dog sniffs out trouble and races in to help. Through the Teddy Gives Back program, the company gives 100 percent of the profits from special items to those in need, when they need it, pronto. Beneficiaries of their largesse include Hurricane Harvey Relief, the Pulse Victims’ Fund for the Pulse Shooting, and Dogs Detect Cancer. We’re loving the “choose love” car magnet, Yappy Hour stainless steel water bottle, and “nose it all” tee.
Lift a glass to love
California-based Equality Wines is a wine portfolio with limited release collections that support equality causes, such as the Human Rights Campaign, and The Child Rescue Coalition. Started by label co-founders Matt Grove and Jim Obergefell, the philanthropically minded vintner sells several wine collections with a purpose. These include the Respect series, the Empowerment series, and the Love Wins series. We recommend the 2012 19th Amendment Pinot Noir and the 2017 Respect Rosé.
Making a statement—in style and dollars
What is cool to wear and also doing good in the world? That would be graphic tees, sweatshirts, bracelets, hats and other designs by Sevenly. For every Sevenly purchase, the company donates money or supplies to heroic non-profits that benefit a breadth of causes, such as anti-bullying, autism awareness, and women’s empowerment. We’re loving the “Love Well” t-shirt, which provides funding to an organization aiming to curb the modern slave trade. The company has donated more than $5 million so far to non-profits around the world.
Humanitarian aid—and some great housewares
You may recognize World Vision as the non-profit organization that lets you buy gifts of animals—ducks for families in the Philippines, goats and chickens for families in Zambia—to help those communities afford food and school for their children, and earn their own living. But you may not know that the organization also employs local artisans in those countries to produce fair trade, hand-crafted gifts ranging from a decorative metal bowl upcycled from artisans in India to wooden salad scoops made in Kenya, and a colorful hand-sewn bib from Bali. Proceeds from these gifts go to World Vision’s “Where Most Needed Fund,” supporting the organization’s most vital projects, including clean water access and humanitarian aid.
Clothing that helps heal
You might know n:PHILANTHROPY as a hip LA-based clothing brand. But the line’s namesake is actually meaningful, as the company donates a portion of net proceeds to organizations such as the ASPCA and Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. One program the company funds at CHLA is “Beads of Courage,” an arts-in-medicine supportive care intervention for children getting treatment for a serious illness such as cancer, a blood condition, or other chronic medical issue. With BEADS of Courage, the children use colorful beads to acknowledge—and honor—the milestones they’ve achieved along their treatment journey. Don’t miss the simple acts of kindness you can do in two minutes or less.