United By Blue (UBB) is an ocean-friendly brand of apparel that, for every product sold, removes one pound of trash from oceans and waterways around the world. Their business model is so innovative that it was named one of the finalists on The Wall Street Journal’s most innovative small business competition. The eco-friendly clothing company is gearing up for the holiday season with new products and great holiday deals.
In 2006, Brain Linton, a passionate ocean lover began his eco-entrepreneurial journey by starting a company that sold a line of sustainable jewelry that donated a percentage of profits to ocean conservation initiatives. But after a few years, Brian couldn’t pinpoint any concrete environmental benefit of his monetary donations. How could he be sure that his company’s money was actually contributing to real and significant ocean conservation efforts? And more importantly, how could he call himself a real supporter of the blue movement without getting his hands dirty? So UBB was born!
Ocean Pollution: Same Old Plastic
“Regardless of the location, we consistently see the same things at our cleanups—plastic bottles and caps, plastic bags, styrofoam food containers and cups, food wrappers, plastic cutlery and clothing, all of which have a damaging effect on our oceans and its inhabitants.”
New Mantra for Corporate Social Responsibility: Walk the Talk
Most companies trying to do social and environmental good, outsource the “dirty” work of clean up and responsibility or just donate money for others to do the “good” work. But UBB is different. They do the clean up themselves. UBB works with retailers, local universities, environmental groups, service organizations, municipalities, townships, schools and business to garner community volunteers to join in on cleanup fun.
Cleaning up trash may not be the most glamorous thing in the world, but we make our cleanups educational, fun events with contests, giveaways, supplies and food for all of our volunteers.
This approach is wonderful on so many levels: Firstly, it takes the company that much more closer to its mission, giving it credibility and drive; Secondly, it motivates the community, helping to foster a sense of ownership for our precious natural resources; Thirdly, it makes a non-glamorous task fun and achievable.
What do you think about holiday gift giving with a social or environmental purpose?