As an avid TOMS advocate, I’ve been asking myself on this One Day Without Shoes “What happens when TOMS go out of style?” The One for One model is a strong business practice, but in this context it’s a beginning, not an end game. I’m not so quick as this author to throw TOMS under the bus, though, just because they are a feel good brand. If our culture keeps focusing on the flaws in a progressive movement like TOMS or Kony2012, we run the risk of destroying such organizations before they are allowed to discover their full potential.
I appreciate the challenge laid out by this FastCompany article, and I agree that long-term solutions developed by successful businesses stand the best chance of changing the world for the better… so the question becomes “Are we willing to support businesses who are doing some good and encourage them do more, or are we so cynical that we will chastise any business who says they are doing something worth doing for not sacrificing it all to save the world?”
Think Whole Foods… Toyota… Apple…
I say challenge these companies to raise their standards, and hold them accountable, but FFS don’t abandon them for Walmart, Hummer & Dell.
The Broken “Buy-One, Give-One” Model: 3 Ways To Save Toms Shoes
First, the Toms buy-one-give-one model does not actually solve a social problem. Rather, the charitable act of donating a free pair of shoes serves as little more than a short-term fix in a system in need of long-term, multi-faceted economic development, health, sanitation, and education solutions.
“What’s wrong with giving away shoes?” you might be thinking. “At least they’re doing something.” The problem, we’ve learned, is when that “something” can do more harm than good.