More goes into making clothes than just fabric and thread, at least with certain brands. Companies like Reebok, JCPenney, and others believe that selling clothing isn’t just about looking good. It’s also about doing good. The following clothing brands have stayed true to their lofty corporate responsibility standards, from sustainability to philanthropy.
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JCPenney’s reputation for corporate responsibility outshines most other clothing retailers. In addition to offering stylish, affordable apparel, JCPenney has maintained a steady commitment to social progress and the environment. The company recently released a corporate responsibility report enumerating all of its various contributions and humanitarian activities.
Among JCPenney’s impressive efforts was a five-year energy conservation campaign that reduced the company’s energy usage by 19 percent. Additionally, the company reduced greenhouse gas emissions during that period by 13 percent, or the equivalent of taking 14,800 vehicles off the road for a year. The retailer also takes great pride in the personal and professional development of its employees. From 2013 to 2014, JCPenney employees pledged $5 million in charitable giving and volunteered for 150,000 hours of community service.
At Reebok, the company doesn’t define its brand identity and legacy by how many professional athlete endorsements it gets or how slick its Super Bowl ads are. Instead, Reebok makes corporate citizenship the bedrock of its brand. In 1986, the company started the Reebok Foundation to further its social responsibility goals. Since then, it’s worked with more than 500 non-profit organizations to offer social and financialsupport for the communities where it has offices.
Along the same lines, Reebok has a recognition program that acknowledges and rewards people who make a difference in the lives of young people. To thank these important individuals, Reebok invites those who work with youth in the Massachusetts area to visit the company’s world headquarters. During their one-week visit, Reebok invites them to shop at the headquarters store for shoes, apparel, and more at a 50 percent discount.
A lot of companies make social responsibility a pillar of their corporate mission, but not many were actually founded with humanitarian spirit. Shoemaker Toms is the exception to that rule. When Toms’ founder Blake Mycoskie traveled to Argentina in 2006, he left the country inspired in more ways than one. While he was there, Blake was struck by the hardships of the children living in the country, including the number of families who couldn’t afford shoes for their children.
Blake returned to the United States committed to selling shoes inspired by Argentinean design and to donating a pair of shoes to a child in need for every pair sold. To date, Toms has given over 60 million pairs of shoes to impoverished children in 70 countries. In 2011, Toms Eyewear began with the promise to give the gift of sight to those is need. Today, Toms has helped more than 400,000 people see.
It’s refreshing to know that so many clothing brands care about much more than the bottom line. If the sales of these brands are any indication, it seems that consumers duly recognize and reward that approach.