Feel Good Shopping: 5 Companies That Give Back

It feels good to give back and make a difference in someone’s life, doesn’t it? People are always looking for opportunities to help out and give back in any way possible. As college students, we don’t normally have extra cash laying around. Many of us cannot give a large amount monetarily to support different causes and philanthropy efforts. If someone is asking for more than $10, the answer will usually be “No”.

But giving back and supporting deserving causes has become easier than ever. Individuals can now contribute to the greater good just by shopping! In IMC we learn that consumers are the driving force behind many companies. The power of the dollar dictates what’s important (or not-so-important) to consumers. As more consumers choose to support businesses that are doing good, companies take notice and respond accordingly.

Corporate social responsibility is becoming increasingly important in consumers’ shopping decisions. Providing a great product and shopping experience will only get you so far and now more than ever, if businesses really want their customers to keep coming back, they need to do more. They need to let their conscious consumers know that their dollars will be doing some good. This concept also relates back to corporate identity and image. A consumer is much more likely to buy a product from a business they deem as a charitable, ethical, and quality company than from another business who is not.

In today’s market, there are a ton of awesome companies that are giving proceeds to deserving organizations, maintaining fair trade practices, or operating on buy-one-give-one models. If you’re someone who loves to shop, check out these 5 cool companies that give back and display above-average corporate social responsibility!


pedigreePedigree dog food built its brand by focusing on the need for people to adopt homeless dogs.  Funding the support and care of these animals and sponsoring a national adoption drive, Pedigree’s 2009 goal was to distribute $1.5 million in grants to 1,000 shelters and breed rescues. Pedigree donates one bowl of food to animal shelters every time it gets a Facebook fan, and it did the same when the company’s 2009 Super Bowl commercial was viewed online. Pedigree’s goal is to donate “4 million bowls of dog food annually”, enough to feed every shelter dog in America for one day. Their corporate identity resonates with animal lovers worldwide. Who wouldn’t want to buy a brand that helps out man’s best friend?

Toms Shoes

tomsThe well-known shoe company TOMS is another great example of a company with strong corporate identity. Owner Blake Mycoskie started Toms Shoes on the premise that for every pair of shoes sold, one pair would be donated to a child in need. TOMS Shoes recognized that consumers want to feel good about what they buy, and thus directly tied the purchase with the donation. In just four years, Toms Shoes has donated more than 400,000 shoes, evidence that consumers have clearly embraced the cause. It’s a brilliant corporate social responsibility model that many companies have adopted for themselves in the past few years. Their “One for One’ policy is a win-win for everyone involved!

 Bitty & Beau’s Coffee

coffeeLocated right here in Wilmington off New Center Drive, Bitty & Beau’s Coffee markets itself as being “more than a cup of coffee”. When you buy your coffee beverage here, you are supporting people with disabilities and are their inclusion in the workplace! The shop is run by people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Bitty & Beau’s Coffee currently employs 40 employees who create a warm and inviting atmosphere that makes every customer feel special. They create a culture where diversity is not just appreciated, it’s celebrated! This has become their corporate identity and this is something that customers will draw customers in and get them to skip the Starbucks.  Statistically, 70% of people with a disability in the nation are unemployed. By buying your coffee from Beau’s, you are supporting these individuals with disabilities! It is a coffee experience like no other.


patagoniaSince opening its doors in 1973, Patagonia has been a leader in the industry when it comes to Corporate Social Responsibility.  Patagonia’s products are produced and made out of sustainable materials by ethical labor practices. In turn, Patagonia provides exceptional high-quality products that consumers can feel good about buying. They pride themselves on their apparel being made to last so that customers do not have to buy new clothing as frequently. They truly are business that accounts for the impact of their activities on customers, employees, communities and the environment. Additionally, Patagonia puts in the extra effort to promote fair labor practices and ensure good working conditions in our factories, which many companies fail to do. Fair Trade is one of the first tools they use at Patagonia to raise workers’ wages, improve their standard of living and move them closer to earning a living wage. Bottom line, Patagonia strives to always treat their workers and the environment with the respect. While their products are on the higher end of the price spectrum, you can feel better about your expensive purchase because you know you are supporting a good company.

 Burt’s Bees

burts-beesBurt’s Bees is another NC based company that is providing good products and doing good out in the community! The company partners with Habitat For Humanity to build eco-friendly homes! In 2007 they established The Burt’s Bees Greater Good Foundation, which is funded by a percentage of their sales. Its goal is “to help empower non-profit initiatives whose efforts resonate with our own mission, particularly in the areas of natural health and well-being, the environment and social responsibility.” The company also gives back in another way by working to develop sustainable packaging made from recycled materials. In addition, they are a huge advocate for bees! The decline in the bee population over the past century impacts our eco-systems on multiple levels, so Burt’s Bees has tried to help raise awareness and bring attention to this issue. Their corporate image and identity is one that people recognize as an all-natural and eco-friendly company. So do yourself a favor and buy a stick or two of Burt’s Bees! Not only will it keep your lips moisturized this winter, but you can also know that you are supporting the bees at the same time! Now that’s something to buzz about!

Are you more inclined to purchase a product from a company that gives back?