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Start Your Business Success Stories

14 Great Examples of Socially Responsible Businesses

14 Great Examples of Socially Responsible Businesses
Credit: Baramee Thaweesombat/Shutterstock

Many of today's consumers care about more than just the quality of your products. They are paying attention to what your company supports, how you create your products and the impact you have on the environment.

It's important to consumers that companies demonstrate corporate social responsibility. In fact, a 2015 Neilsen survey found that nearly two-thirds of global consumers are willing to pay more for sustainably made products. Customers want to know that their money is going toward something good.

Many businesses will advertise charitable initiatives, such as annual fundraisers for a cause or a volunteer project their staff worked on. But consumers love companies that weave social responsibility into their entire business model. Here are 14 examples of organizations that put social good at the heart of their business. [What Is Corporate Social Responsibility?]

Many people take their computers, smartphones and tablets for granted, but for those with disabilities, using these technologies can present significant challenges. 

Accessibility Partners works with private and public information technology manufacturing companies, federal agencies and other organizations to test and review products that make IT accessible to individuals with disabilities. More than 70 percent of the company's employees have disabilities themselves, so the company promotes disability advocacy in all of its operations.

When Stephanie Hanson learned her mother had breast cancer, she tried to put on a brave face. She wanted to create something for her family to remind them to be courageous in the wake of this cancer diagnosis. That's when she created Bravelets. Its mission is to help people be strong during tough times. They achieve this by selling jewelry with the words "Be brave" etched on it. The company donates 10 percent of each sale to a cause you select at checkout.

Some causes Bravelets supports include the Cure Alzheimer's Fund, the National Alliance on Mental Illnesses, the Lung Cancer Alliance, the American Cancer Society, Anxiety Awareness, the National Autism Association and much more. To date, Bravelets has donated about $3 million to different charities.

Artist and mother Rebecca Peragine began selling her whimsical wall art, cards and posters to promote environmental education for children. In addition to using recycled materials, eco-friendly inks and biodegradable packaging for Peragine's original designs, Children Inspire Design sells handcrafted paper ornaments made by a women's cooperative in Mexico as well as a special poster whose full proceeds go to support the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrtition.  

As seen on "Shark Tank," The Elephant Pants sells pants, accessories, cardigans and dresses made in Chiang Mai, Thailand, by a team paid twice the minimum wage. Most products are made with bright fabrics with elephants printed on each item.

The company donates one dollar for every product sold, and has donated more than $145,000 to organizations dedicated to saving elephants since it was founded in 2014.

As a "pay it forward company," The Giving Keys employs people who are transitioning out of homelessness and provides full-time jobs at a living wage. With each job, the company offers benefits as well as paid time off for housing, education and case-management appointments.

The company sells jewelry with an inspirational word engraved on the item, such as "Dream," "Create," or "Inspire." The Giving Keys encourages people to embrace their word and then pay it forward by giving the product to someone who needs the message.

After a life-changing internship at the Make-A-Wish Foundation, Jessica Ekstrom wanted to continue helping children with life-threatening illnesses by starting her own business.

Her company, Headbands of Hope, sells made-in-the-U.S. headbands. For every headband sold, it donates 10 percent to childhood cancer charities and gives a headband to a child with cancer. HOH has donated headbands to every children's hospital in the United States.

This ethically conscious fashion startup designed a shoe inspired by traditional Ecuadorean canvas shoes. For each pair sold, Juntos donates a supply-filled backpack to an at-risk Ecuadorean child to help him or her participate more fully and effectively in school.

Years ago, three high school friends with a shared love of snow sports learned to crochet their own headwear. Though they sold custom creations to classmates, Krochet Kids fizzled out when the guys went to college – until they realized teaching their skill in developing countries could help break the cycle of poverty.

The company earned its nonprofit status in 2008, and today, Krochet Kids is helping more than 150 Ugandans and Peruvians earn a fair wage through the sale of crocheted goods.

Love Your Melon's mission is to give a hat to every child in America who is battling cancer and to support nonprofit organizations researching a cure for pediatric cancer. The company sells hats and scarfs, and donates 50 percent of their profits to cancer research initiatives. The company has donated more than $2.8 million and 120,000 hats since it was founded in 2012.

Customers of cosmetics company Out of Africa do more than just purchase high-quality shea butter skin care products; they also help improve the quality of life for West African women and children. A portion of Out of Africa's proceeds is donated to organizations that provide education and medical care to children, and the company regularly donates to women's cooperatives that create jobs in West Africa.

Homes built by Prime Five Homes aren't your typical houses. Each of these modern, sustainable homes is equipped to use less energy, gas and water, so buyers know they're moving into a property that's better for the environment.

A portion of all sales goes to the company's nonprofit arm, the Dream Builders Project, which provides services and monetary donations to select charities.

Founded in 1981, Rainbow Light started out selling spirulina nutritional supplements to health-conscious consumers. In addition to expanding its line of natural supplements, the company has been committed to improving the health of its customers, trade partners, global community and the planet.

As part of its Circle of Care initiative, Rainbow Light helps fight global malnutrition with its supplements through Vitamin Angels, a nonprofit that delivers vitamins to at-risk mothers and babies. It uses 100 percent recycled and recyclable BPA-free packaging. Rainbow Light has donated more than 40 million prenatal tablets since its inception.

Sand Cloud is a beach lifestyle company that sells beach towels, blankets and other accessories. Founded in 2014, Sand Cloud donates 10 percent of profits back to marine life preservation. It has partnered with nonprofits such as the Marine Conservation Institute, the Surfrider Foundation, the Pacific Marine Mammal Center, San Diego Coastkeepers and the Hawaii Wildlife Fund.

Wanderer Bracelets sells products that are hand carved in a hut in Bali by local artists. Since the company was founded in 2014, Wanderer Bracelets has created jobs for more than 150 people living in Bali who are paid three times the local standard wage. Each bracelet is created with all-natural, repurposed water buffalo bone.


Additional reporting by Adam C. Uzialko and Nicole Fallon.

Saige Driver

Saige Driver graduated from Ball State University in 2015 with a degree in journalism. She started her career at a radio station in Indiana, and is currently a B2B staff writer at Business News Daily. She loves reading and her beagle mix, Millie. Reach her by email, or follow her on Twitter.