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Company Name and Industry

My favorite socially-responsible company is Tom’s Shoes (TOMS). It is a for-profit company that designs and sells shoes, clothes, and handbags. It also dabbles in cosmetics, producing eyewear, and sells stylized coffee products (Kingston and Guellil 285). The company was founded in 2006 by Blake Mycoskie, and is known for its philanthropic approach to business as well as its charity actions around the world.

Why are they your favorite company?

TOMS is my favorite company because of the conscious way it is doing business. The company is aware of the ecological imprint it leaves from its production and tries to minimize it (Kingston and Guellil 284). Also, it is conscious of suffering in poor countries in Africa and the Middle East, and makes frequent donations to the poor, in order to improve their wellbeing by providing them with essential items (Kingston and Guellil 285).

Approach toward Social Responsibility

TOMS’ approach to social responsibility is deeply rooted in sustainability practices and ethical solutions to problems. The company seeks to ensure that the materials it uses for their products are received from ethical sources that do not engage in exploitation of vulnerable populations (Kang et al. 68). In addition, they make sure that the materials they use are recyclable and do not cause as much damage to the environment as some other shoe companies do (Kang et al. 65). Finally, TOMS invests in the local and distant communities either directly or through the supply of various commodities.

Descriptions and Examples of Socially Responsible Behaviors

There are several examples of TOMS expressing socially-responsible behaviors. Some of their most notorious programs include the one-for-one deal. In essence, for each pair of shoes a customer buys, a child in Africa receives a pair of shoes for free (Wydick et al. 728). Since many countries in that region are beyond poor, individuals do not have enough money to buy shoes. The children are in the direst need of footwear due to the fact that they are growing and cannot afford to change shoes every year or so. TOMS seeks to help alleviate this problem by providing shoes for free, paid for by the wealthy customers abroad.

The second example of a socially-responsible behavior is the use of recyclable materials in the production of their shoes. TOMS shoes utilize hemp, cotton, and recycled polyester, which allows to minimize the requirements for inorganic materials and helps recycle the shoes after they have expired (Wydick et al. 731). Finally. Their packaging materials are made largely of recycled waste, while the logo is printed with soy ink. Finally, TOMS requires their suppliers to present certificates to ensure that the materials they buy were not produced using slave labor, child labor, and meet the guidelines of Fair Trade (Wydick et al. 732).

Suggestions for Socially Responsible Behaviors

While TOMS is a company with a good heart and good intentions, it should re-evaluate the effectiveness of some of its socially-responsible behaviors, with one-for-one program being the primary target. Giving out shoes may not be the best solution to a country that does not have the infrastructure to sustain and support a shoe-wearing population (Kang et al. 60). In addition, doing so carelessly destroys local businesses and small companies, leaving people jobless (Kang et al. 62). TOMS should consider donating money to infrastructure projects and businesses to help revitalize the economy.

Consumer Influence

As a socially-responsible company, TOMS is greatly influenced by consumer demands. The quality of its products is comparable to their competitors, while the prices are generally higher and aimed at the middle-class or above in the Western market (Wydick et al. 749). The reasons it makes sales is because of its socially-responsible behavior (Haski-Leventhal 37). TOMS will have to continue to engage their consumer base on moral reasons to continue making sales.

References

Haski-Leventhal, Debbie. Strategic corporate social responsibility: Tools and theories for responsible management. Sage, 2018.

Kang, Charles, et al. “Washing away your sins? Corporate social responsibility, corporate social irresponsibility, and firm performance.” Journal of Marketing, vol. 80, no. 2, 2016, pp. 59-79.

Kingston, Lindsey N., and Jeanette Guellil. “TOMS and the citizen-consumer: Assessing the impacts of socially-minded consumption.” Journal of Human Rights Practice, vol. 8, no. 2, 2016, pp. 284-297.

Wydick, Bruce, et al. “Shoeing the Children: the impact of the TOMS Shoe donation program in rural El Salvador.” The World Bank Economic Review, vol. 32, no. 3, 2018, pp. 727-751.

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