Giving Back via Consumerism: Nine Companies with a Cause Worth Patronizing

Giving is good for you. When you give back, the brain gets a surge of dopamine and endorphins—the so-called “happy hormones”—and you feel good about yourself. Nevertheless, the upside of giving back extends beyond physiological benefits. Being charitable lets you participate in building better communities. But not everyone can afford to give to charity or spend some time volunteering. However, paying it forward can take various forms and shapes—and that includes buying from socially-responsible businesses. So, here’s a list of companies with a cause to support your shop-and-give-back goals:

1. Starbucks Coffee Company

starbucks cup of company sitting on counter - companies with a cause
Starbucks cup photographed on Friday, March 16, 2018. (Joshua Trujillo, Starbucks)

Starbucks’ social responsibility efforts are focused on community-building, ethical sourcing, and care for the environment. Starbucks works with many great non-profits throughout the year and is currently matching donations up to $250,000 to Born This Way for the month of June. They also support programs that empower women in coffee and tea communities across Africa, Asia, and Latin America; support organizations working to create job and education opportunities for youth, veterans and military families, and refugees; enable partners to serve their communities and invest in organizations working to create and advance economic opportunities for youth, veterans and military families and refugees. Thus, every sip of your latte supports a good cause.

2. TOMS

TOMS started in 2006 with the simple idea of donating a pair of shoes for every pair sold. Thirteen years since the company began, TOMS has expanded their giving from shoes to coffee, bags, and eyeglasses. With the buy-one-give-one business model, TOMS must certainly be included in the list of companies with a cause.

3. 3M

3M’s commitment to doing business the ethical way has been recognized for years. Through science and innovation, 3M seeks solutions that do more with less material, decrease environmental impact, and create a community advocating the same mission.

4. method

shelf full of Method's environmentally friendly products
Photo courtesy of method.

method is a green company that has been making waves by using business to promote social and environmental good. By being animal-friendly, climate-conscious and sourcing responsibly, method is undoubtedly one of the companies with a cause worth supporting.

5. LEGO

LEGO is committed to making a positive impact on the world that future generations will inherit. As one of the foremost companies with a cause, Lego has partnered with agencies like the World Wildlife Fund to achieve the company’s sustainability goals. At the heart of these goals is the push to find and implement, by 2030, sustainable alternatives to existing materials.

6. Lush Cosmetics

Companies with a cause – Lush charity pot program has donated millions to grassroots organizations

Lush is cognizant of the current social and environmental problems of our society. Their corporate social responsibility programs are built upon three main issues: animal protection, human rights protection and environmental protection. So, every time you purchase Lush products, you help support causes, such as the fight against animal testing and the reduction of packaging and waste. Since 2007—through their the Charity Pot program—Lush has donated over $34 million to more than 2500 grassroots organizations.

7. Ben & Jerry’s

a hand holding a cup of ben & jerry's ice cream

Ben & Jerry’s is not just about ice cream. The global brand has been an advocate for several social causes, such as racial justice, fair trade, and climate change. From its first ice cream scoop shop in a renovated gas station in Burlington, VT, to distant communities around the globe, the Ben & Jerry’s Foundation now donates about $1.8 billion per year to philanthropy.

8. Levi Strauss & Co.

Levi Strauss & Co. is paying it forward by addressing environmental issues caused by the fashion industry. Problems like excessive water consumption, chemical leaching, and enormous carbon footprint are at the heart of Levi’s social responsibility programs. If you believe that giving back never goes out of style, then Levi’s is one of the companies with a cause worthy of your support.

9. Whole Foods Market

The produce section of a Whole Food's Market

Whole Foods Market‘s strategies and partnerships revolve around providing the highest quality, least processed, and most natural foods possible for its customers. Thus, the grocery chain has been active in upcycling, energy conversation, and supporting local food producers.


Your Role Among Companies with a Cause

Gratitude and compassion are qualities manifested through the act of giving. But you don’t need to donate to charity or spend a lot of time doing volunteer work to make a difference. Choosing to buy from companies with a cause is a great place to start.

About the Author

Imee Rabang is a blogger/writer and bilingual poet from Manila, Philippines. She is an advocate of Philippine culture and supports causes that promote language and national identity. She juggles her time between work, parenthood, and community outreach programs. She also dabbles in photography and graphic arts in her free time.
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