US footwear brand Toms is celebrating its 15th anniversary this year and for the occasion it’s introducing a series of new strategies related to new impact and eco-friendly projects.
Since 2006, Toms says it has impacted more than 100 million lives giving shoes, sight, safe watergiving and impact grants. Tom’s business model has been based on various strategies including its One for One business model. Through it, the company gives back one pair back to kids in developing countries for each pair sold. Although, after the last 15 years and the experience it acquired, it is now ready to make its model evolve.
“We are in business to improve life. That is our mission. That is something that is never going to change. Creating an impact is in our DNA; it is core to who we are. For this we are now moving from our one-for-one give a shoe model to giving one-third of our profits for grassroots goods,” explained Amy Smith, chief strategy and impact officer, Toms. By investing in grassroots efforts, Toms wants to support solutions to address a community’s unique needs, making them scalable and sustainable.
Amy Smith, chief strategy and impact officer, Toms
While social impact is a main focus, Toms tries to continue to take a holistic approach with ethical and eco-conscious practices throughout the business. Through new and existing product offerings, processes, packaging and vendors, the brand aims to work to make choices that benefit its customers, employees and the planet.
Toms also will be expanding its sustainable practices in key areas of its business.
Smith explained the company’s commitment. “We are a B-Corp certified organization since 2018, and we were re-certified just recently. We increased our score by 25 points–a significant result we are proud of–and the majority of that was focused on the environmental area. We used the B-Corp review process as a roadmap for setting the aims we want to address on the environmental side.”
The company is working to reduce waste and energy use, and exploring an end-of-use program for its shoes. It will expand its use of sustainable cotton by sourcing 100% sustainable cotton by 2025. It will also continue to source 100% of its packaging from sustainably managed forests and ensure it’s made with at least 80% recycled materials. Along with it, it has started measuring its carbon footprint in 2020, and it aims to improve it year over year. How this looks in detail was not explained.
As part of its all-round environmentally friendly strategy there is the Earthwise footwear selection, as explained by Smith: “We have a clear strategy within the next three to five years on how we do our part on the environmental piece, and it includes from our carbon footprint to the labels we use in the offices to a recycling shoe program we are about investigating. We also have a relatively new program called Earthwise, including products rooted in earth-friendly materials and processes, and over the next 12 months over 30% of our products will be sustainable.”
Toms canvas shoes
The eco-friendly materials it uses are, for instance, recycled polyester made from post-consumer plastic bottles. It also employs organic cotton, Tencel Lyocell, and uses eco-fibers such as hemp, linen, and jute that consume less water than traditional fibers and require fewer chemicals to grow.
Its shoe components include carbon negative Green EVA outsoles derived from sugar cane and OrthoLite insoles made, for instance, with recycled rubber. Plus, the strobel board, the part of the shoe attaching the insole and outsole, is made with recycled polyester.
Also, Tom’s Eyewear collection uses eco-friendly materials such as mineral glass lenses made with natural silica and soda ash, and bioplastic frames made from 100% biodegradable plant-based material.
“Our impact strategy is a 360° one and includes the components, what we are doing for our piece on the planet, and how we are affecting people and all of our employees in engagement initiatives like, for instance, a Giving-Tuesday, or getting out into the community on the volunteer efforts and being part of the whole community. Part of this strategy is how we engage consumers, our giving partners and our vendors in this model,” added Smith.