Toms Shoes, the company that pioneered the “buy one, give one” social entrepreneurship model into the mainstream, is now reconsidering its business and social impact model. For every shoe sold, the company provides a pair to an underprivileged child in a developing nations and, although this sounds like a great idea, this model has come under fire numerous times. Critics question whether such models actually relieve poverty, or if they simply perpetuate it by failing to provide any sustainable improvements to a recipient’s or community’s quality of life.
It seems the company is starting to take these concerns to heart: TOMS will be opening a manufacturing facility in Haiti which will employ 100 Haitians starting in January 2014. By the end of 2015, they have pledged to produce 1/3 of all their products in a “responsible, sustainable” environment – meaning in locations that they actually donate and distribute shoes.
What do you think about the buy on, give on model? Is it productive or damaging to communities receiving the model’s output? Comment or send us a tweet @ImpactFlo to get the conversation started!