An encouraging business trend is reported on, this week, in the ‘Opinionator‘ column of the New York Times.
B1G1 (“buy one, give one”) is the new business model being increasingly adopted by companies as they recognise the demand from consumers for greater social conscience. (See this report on the Cone Cause Evolution Study, which suggests that 80% of Americans would switch brands to support social causes, if price and quality were comparable.)
The gap between social enterprises and truly capitalist enterprises is narrowing, with even established brands such as Ikea using the new model. A number of startups are using it to sell such diverse products as vitamins, blankets and children’s clothing, and the non-profit One Laptop Per Child is also using it.
Perhaps the most famous example of the model is TOMS, which donates a pair of shoes to a needy child every time it sells one. Similarly, Warby Parker – which makes eyeglasses – sends money to fund a pair of glasses in a poor country every time it sells a pair at home.
However, the article in the Times suggests that while the model has the appeal of bringing the public closer to the action it carries the risk of capitalist cynicism as well as the possibility of changing the dynamics of local business in target countries. It also fails to address the ‘teach a man to fish‘ ethos.
But for now, this seems to be a business model that more companies will adopt – and it reflects an altruistic trend in society that we, here at Generosity News, applaud.
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