Top Businesses Doing the Most Good for the World


1. Intel
As of 2014, Intel became a conflict-free microprocessor manufacturer. According to Fast Company, this means that Intel does not source its raw materials from areas involved in armed conflict and human rights issues in order to make its processing devices. The company established this goal in 2012. Ever since, the company has worked to verify more conflict-free suppliers. Intel now looks to produce all of its products in the same way. This decision has a huge social impact because it places people above profit, demanding smelting companies to do the same if they wish to continue selling to Intel.

2. Warby Parker
The eyeglass company follows the TOMS business model: buy one, give one. At Warby Parker, every pair of glasses bought donates the equivalent dollar amount to Warby’s nonprofit partners, like VisionSpring. The money is then used to train aspiring optometrists in developing countries to properly conduct basic eye exams and how to sell eyeglasses to their communities at affordable prices. The great thing about Warby’s business approach is that it aims to create sustainable change by investing in building livelihoods. The Warby Parker website explains the importance of a single pair of frames: a single pair can increase productivity by 35 percent and increase monthly earnings by 20 percent. Today, 703 million people do not have access to eyewear, but thanks to Warby Parker, more than 18,000 people in over 35 countries have improved their eyesight.

The founder of the “one-for-one” model has clothed the feet of more than 2 million children and has increased maternal healthcare participation by 42 percent as a result of shoe donations. TOMS’ work also enrolled 1,000 new students in Liberian primary schools and identified 100 children as malnourished, thanks to shoe-integrated health screenings in Malawi. The business currently works with more than 100 giving partners and aids more than 70 countries worldwide. Not only does TOMS work to give shoes, but the company also invests in supporting responsible shoe industries, providing safe water and quality education, training birth attendants and supplying birth kits. TOMS even works with bullying prevention centers in the United States by funding programs and training crisis employees to run Crisis Text Line.

4. Roshan Telecom
Afghanistan’s leading telecommunications provider is also one of the world’s most socially responsible businesses. It is a certified B Corporation, which means that it meets high and demanding standards for ethical business practices. It also works to proactively further the social and economic welfare of less developed areas. In 2014, the company expanded internationally, bringing its professional and humanitarian services along to countries like Burundi, Uganda and Tanzania. The Aga Khan Fund for Economic Development, another humanitarian player, largely owns Roshan Telecom. Together, they provide e-learning, telemedicine and environmentally friendly educational facilities. Roshan also works in East Africa to establish and strengthen mobile infrastructure.

5. Oliberté
The fair-trade, eco-friendly footwear factory supports workers’ rights in sub-Saharan Africa. Tal Dehtiar, the founder of Oliberté, began his work in 2009, partnering with factories and suppliers in Africa. In 2012, the company moved into its own factory in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. In September 2013, it became the world’s first Fair Trade Certified™ footwear manufacturing factory. Oliberté follows the motto “Trade. Not aid.” It works to create social enterprise by providing safe and ethical working environments, in addition to recycling profits into factory and job creation. So far, Oliberté has locations in Ethiopia, Liberia and Kenya. Dehtiar is looking to develop more factories in Cameroon, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Uganda and Zambia. The ultimate goal is to enable a healthier generation, where men and women can earn a salary, kids can go to school and one proud family can give birth to another.

6. Bloomberg Philanthropies
The Foundation Center follows founder Michael R. Bloomberg’s humanitarian works. The American politician, business mogul and philanthropist served as the 108th Mayor of New York City and dedicated his life to investing in a better, cleaner and safer future. Bloomberg Philanthropies focuses on bettering public health, education, the environment, government innovation and the arts, among many others. Bloomberg Philanthropies’ work is quantifiable and supported by data. For example, The Foundation invested $53 million over a five-year time frame to fix the overfishing problem in Brazil, the Philippines and Chile. So far, 7 percent of the world’s fisheries, and counting, are being revived, thereby bringing back countless jobs and livelihoods in addition to revitalizing ocean life. As of 2013, Bloomberg Philanthropies distributed $452 million to humanitarian projects worldwide.

7. Sanergy
Sanergy works to provide sustainable sanitation in urban slums. So far, the company has opened 701 Fresh Life Toilets, each of which comes with toilet paper, sawdust, soap, and water for handwashing, according to the Sanergy website. Each toilet also provides a waste receptacle, a sanitary bin for women, a mirror, a coat hook and a solar lantern for early morning or nighttime trips. Access to the facilities is priced, but it is comparable to informal settlements. Fresh Life Toilets prices even offer more bang for their buck because they include all the products and services that other toilets do not offer. Thanks to Sanergy, waste removal is safer, more sanitary and even eco-friendly, as the waste is converted into fertilizer and electricity. Since the company’s start, 5,446 metric tons of waste have been properly transported and treated, and 727 jobs have been created.

– Lin Sabones

Sources: Fast Company, Warby Parker, TOMS, Oliberté, Sanergy
Photo: Designed Good