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  • Writer's pictureLive Oak Management

Brands' New Focus: Corporate Social Responsibility

By Ariana Wilson, Account Executive

Over the years, companies have become more conscious of how their business operations are affecting the world socially and environmentally. Along with being profitable, they are focusing on corporate social responsibility (CSR), enacting positive change in communities and the world. In this year solely, there has been a huge increase in companies’ CSR initiatives due to the coronavirus pandemic, recent uprise to the Black Lives Matter movement and the upcoming presidential election.

One of my first interactions with a company’s CSR and purposeful leading is TOMS Shoes. As a part of TOMS Shoes, their mission is to “improve lives.” They created the one-for-one giving model, buy a pair of shoes and a child in a developing country gets a pair of shoes. Since 2006, they’ve been successful in improving lives and giving out more than 100 million shoes, eyeglasses, and clean water to communities around the world.

However, in 2019, TOMS announced its shift to a more flexible model, for every $3 TOMS makes, it will give $1 away. They’re still focusing on providing quality shoes to children, sight and water, but they’re becoming more inclusive by providing grants and contributing to other needs such as physical safety, mental health and education.

Similar to other companies, TOMS announced a COVID-19 Global Giving Fund in April 2020, to combat the negative effects of the virus. Following its new model, $1 for every $3 made is donated to the fund. TOMS began supporting front-line workers and communities by contributing money toward medical supplies and mental health resources locally and globally with partnerships from Americares, Crisis Text Line, International Medical Corp, Partners in Health and WaterAid. To date, more than $2 million has been donated.

In addition to brands donating to hospitals and communities during the pandemic, many are using their social media platforms to speak out and share their opinion regarding political, racial and social justice concerns.

With the upcoming presidential election, there is a huge push for young people that are eligible to vote to register and make their voices heard. Through the past month, I’ve seen many brands display and encourage voting by sharing voting registration resources, presidential candidates’ information and other resources on their website and social media platforms.

Foot Locker, a brand followed by primarily 18 to 24-year-olds is partnering with Rock the Vote and transforming more than 2,000 of its U.S. retail stores, including Kids Foot Locker, Lady Foot Locker, Champs Sports and Footaction into sites for voter registration, registration status and election reminders.

Richard Johnson, Chairman and CEO of Foot Locker Inc., says “[Foot Locker’s] mission is to inspire and empower youth culture.” Thus, their partnership with Rock The Vote “was a natural fit to help educate and amplify the voices of today’s youth.”

Foot Locker’s actions are simple, yet a powerful way to keep its consumers civically engaged whether they are visiting a retail location or their website.

Foot Locker is also providing its corporate and store team members flexibility within their work time to ensure they are well informed and able to cast their vote.

The world continues to face uncertainty every day, but it’s important to know how you and your favorite brands can help communities in need. While I only shared two brands' response to the current matters of society, TOMS Shoes and Foot Locker, there are many other brands enhancing their corporate social responsibility initiatives. I encourage you to seek them out. With an increase in awareness of social disparities, now is the time we need to rely on one another, learn, and use our voice and resources to enact positive change within our community and world.

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