Over the past decade, a trending increase in the business community has led to more companies leveraging the physical products they sell for social impact.
TOMS is likely the first company that comes to mind with their buy 1 give 1 model, but they are by no means the only company with a focus on social impact.
The accelerated growth of these social impact companies can greatly be attributed to the consumer market becoming exponentially more socially aware in its buying habits. Now, more than ever, businesses seeking to make social impacts are bountiful.
The question then for the socially-minded consumer becomes what social enterprise companies should he or she buy from. While many companies can advertise their social responsibility plan on their websites, not every endeavor actually makes sustainable impacts for the health of the beneficiary community.
Consumers wanting to intentionally purchase products that make social impacts must exercise a great deal of discernment as they determine where to best invest their dollars.
Here are 4 questions you should be asking about social impact companies.
Does the company create and provide value for an actual need of the community?
Does the social impact empower the community for eventual self-sustainability or does it perpetuate a culture of dependency?
Does the company implement long-term solutions or quick fixes?
Does the company adequately track the impact its profits are investing toward social impact?