As more businesses and companies become aware of their power, influence and resources capable of sparking global change, there are more ways for consumers to make purchases that give back to important causes.
Passive Fundraising Programs
Many search engines and online shopping companies utilize passive fundraising to encourage donations without any extra effort from consumers.
- AmazonSmile – AmazonSmile donates 0.5% of consumers’ eligible purchases on Amazon to a charity of their choice simply by shopping as you would normally. With no need to create a separate account or pay any additional fees, AmazonSmile makes it easy for consumers to donate to nonprofits and charity organizations while completing their normal shopping. AmazonSmile gives consumers the option to donate to almost one 1 million different public charitable organizations, including The Borgen Project, the World Wildlife Fund and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
- Ecosia – Ecosia is a search engine part of the Microsoft Search Network which donates most of its expendable funds to tree-planting organizations. Since its foundation in 2009, it has planted more than 70 million trees, as of 2019, by using revenue from ads, online traffic and collecting profits per click. The company also acquires its energy in an eco-friendly approach with solar farms that power the search engine itself.
- Give with Bing – Give with Bing is another initiative by Microsoft which allows people to join the free Microsoft Rewards program to donate to charities of their choice. Reward points automatically go toward the cause when searching with Bing’s search engine, at no additional cost. It rewards consumers for completing activities that they would complete anyway, such as shopping, searching and gaming. Consumers can also redeem their points for gift cards or sweepstakes entries.
- Altruisto – Altruisto is another passive fundraising tool, which comes in the form of a Google Chrome extension, which gives a portion of the money that consumers pay to selected charities. A community interest company called Well-Managed World C.I.C manages it. As consumers install the Chrome extension onto their devices and buy from Altruisto’s partners’ stores online, usually 2% to 6% of their total goes to charities and causes such as extreme poverty, COVID-19, malaria and the global water crisis – without any additional costs to buyers. This allows consumers to make purchases that give back to causes they believe in with no hassle.
Sustainability and Environmentally-Friendly Programs
Businesses and companies are beginning to realize the importance of promoting sustainability programs considering the impact that large-scale production and consumption have on the environment. Though consumer practices also contribute to changing weather patterns, the majority of emissions come from big businesses, as only 100 companies are responsible for 71% of greenhouse gas emissions. As changing weather patterns continue to worsen, including the drought and severe heat which have characterized the summer of 2022 across many continents, businesses are putting in more effort to reduce their contribution to excessive waste, carbon emission levels, and other practices that put climate stability at risk.
- Nike – Nike has made efforts to increase its green initiatives by creating a line of sustainable products and using renewable energy sources for its products. Its main goals have been to reduce its carbon footprint, eliminate waste, conserve water, eliminate hazardous chemicals and responsibly source its products. As of the fiscal year of 2020, 78% of Nike’s owned or operated facilities use renewable energy and all of their footwear manufacturing waste is diverted from landfills. Nike has also endorsed its written environmental policies to 650 of its suppliers in 52 different countries.
- Starbucks – Starbucks has committed to Carbon Neutral Green Coffee, water conservation and responsible sourcing of its coffee. As of 2022, the areas of focus include expanding plant-based menu options, utilizing reusable packaging as opposed to single-use packaging, investing in regenerative agriculture and forest conservation and improving waste management. Starbucks has also partnered with and joined organizations such as the U.N. Global Compact CEO Water Mandate, the Water Resilience Coalition and Conservation International to improve their water agenda and reach their goal of 50% conservation in water usage by 2030.
- Disney – The entertainment company has taken a social responsibility in protecting the planet in its initiatives and goals to create zero emissions, reduce waste, lower impact products and build sustainably. The company has established policies for zero waste and emissions to reduce landfills as carbon fuels and to create a net positive environmental impact. With projects in progress to create solar facilities, Disney is currently expected to make 40% of its electricity come from renewable energy sources.
Companies and programs like Amazon Smile make it convenient and easy for consumers to donate to charities and nonprofit organizations that they are passionate about and make purchases that give back.
– Nethya Samarakkodige