In this day and age, social responsibility has become mainstream in many industries.
But, the term “socially responsible” is often used loosely, the way “all natural” was before the FDA instated “organic.”
If a brand claims to be socially responsible, how do you know that by buying its product you’re actually helping the world?
There are the well-established, do-good companies like TOMS and Warby Parker, which have made names for themselves through legitimate means.
But now, there are many socially-responsible companies springing up all over the place, and some have better intentions than others. The bottom line is this: Not all socially-responsible companies are created equal.
You have to do your homework and make sure you’re not supporting a company that’s using “socially responsible” as a marketing ploy.
I’ve done some digging, and here are five awesome, socially-conscious brands to build up your summer wardrobe:
Her Own Two Feet
Find the perfect pair of summer flip-flops while helping women in conflict countries.
Her Own Two Feet employs Pakistani women who make the sandals by hand and are given access to the global market.
The women earn nearly four times what they would if they sold the same shoes in their own country.
The flip-flops are incredibly comfortable with chic, locally-sourced embellishments that make them versatile. They are easy to dress up or down.
Plus, each pair sold donates 10 percent of the sale to Marshall Direct Fund, a scholarship organization for Pakistani girls.
Research proves that when women and girls are educated and employed in conflict countries, terrorism is less likely to take root.
It’s the same ideal for which Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai risked her life.
It’s the same fight women like Hillary Clinton, Beyonce Knowles and Salma Hayek are fighting. Instead of alleviating the symptoms of poverty, Her Own Two Feet is tackling the root of poverty. The stylish summer sandals start at $30. Not sold? Watch this video.
Yoga on the beach? Yes, please. Typical yoga mats can’t be used outdoors, but a Yogasana mat is not your typical yoga mat. This is mainly because it’s made of cotton.
Each mat takes 10 days to make by hand through an eco-friendly process in the region of India where yoga originated.
On a more spiritual level, the idea behind Yogasana is that doing yoga on a natural, cotton (non-rubber) mat enhances one’s yoga practice by removing synthetic materials between the yogi and the Earth.
Many serious yogis who swear by Yogasana mats support this theory.
The mats come in seven gorgeous colors — perfect for beach days — and have a lifetime warranty.
Additionally, part of the proceeds from each mat sold goes to the Yogasana Circle, a fund that provides educational supplies poverty-stricken children in the region of India where the mats are made.
You need at least one new swimsuit every summer, so make it count this year. Bantu is a beautiful bathing suit line inspired by African history and surf culture.
Bantu products are made in Africa sustainably and fairly, aiming to connect the global fashion world to the vibrant beach culture of coastal Africa.
Bantu supports local vendors and artisans, and works with them to create patterns that combine indigenous prints and modern style using traditional wax cloth.
The bikinis are gorgeous, and each purchase contributes to the growth of an industry on a struggling continent.
With more than one billion people, more than half under 20 years of age, Africa today is literally the future of the world.
BeGood is a San Francisco-based line of organic, basic tees that are some of the softest available.
With big retail standing at the second most pollutive industry on the planet, BeGood prides itself on producing only 10 percent of the chemical and water waste of a traditional manufacturer.
BeGood uses premium organic fabric but cuts out the middleman to keep its prices in check.
The T-shirts are staples in any wardrobe, and they're strong enough that you’ll have them forever.
Plus (through a partnership with the nonprofit Evidence Action), with each purchase, BeGood will make 12 gallons of water that is safe to drink to rural areas in Kenya and Uganda, where drinking contaminated water is the norm.
Made in Ethiopia, the scarf is made of hand-stitched cotton, featuring bold multicolored stripes.
Thirty percent of each scarf sold will be donated to the Ethiopian Children's Fund, a nonprofit program for underprivileged children in the rural village of Aletu.
Editor's Note: Carola Lovering is a marketing professional working for Her Own Two Feet in Colorado. She is a member of the Elite Daily Contributor Network.