“We are not changing the world, but we are at the feet of the people who are”
TOMS is a footwear and lifestyle brand using business to improve lives. Since 2006, their community has impacted 100,000,000 lives through supporting the work of non-profit organizations around the world. MaCher talks to Amy Smith, TOMS’ Chief Strategy and Impact Officer.
TOMS is a company that is synonymous with giving, tell us more about this…
We believe in a future where all people have a chance to thrive. We are committing 1/3 of our profits to grassroots good, in support of the people working to build a more equitable tomorrow.
Because we believe in a future where all people have a chance to thrive, our support is focused on boosting mental health, increasing access to opportunity, and ending gun violence — all elements we know to be essential for progress to take root. We are not changing the world, but we are at the feet of the people who are.
Where did your passion for business with purpose come from?
I’ve been lucky to draw from such a diverse career background across tech, retail and non-profit industries. I am currently the Chief Strategy and Impact Officer where I oversee all TOMS impact and sustainability efforts and corporate strategy. Prior to TOMS, I was the Chief Strategy Officer and President of Action Networks for Points of Light, which is the world’s largest organization dedicated to volunteer service. I also spent a portion of my career at Apple helping to lead their retail initiative and was part of the original team that opened the first 50 Apple retail stores.
I share these experiences because working in technology, start-up and non-profit, all in very entrepreneurial environments, have brought me to this work at TOMS. This is a very special and unique place because giving is truly in our DNA and at the core of everything we do. It’s a wonderful opportunity to bring together lots of my learning and experiences across sectors and industries into one role at an organization that combines purpose and profit. I am honored to hold this position and take the responsibility of creating meaningful impact with our community’s giving very seriously.
How do you think that being a B Corp can make a difference in how or what people buy?
At TOMS, we’re in business to improve lives. In 2006, we pioneered a new way of doing business, bringing profit and purpose together. We are thrilled to see how others have taken this idea and run with it — creating businesses that are better for the world.
B Corp helps to standardize, validate and motivate businesses working at this intersection of impact and profit. At TOMS, we use the process to benchmark where we are and identify ways that we can continue to push ourselves even further. It has also been important to us to be a part of the B Corp community — to learn from and share with like-minded businesses and individuals. TOMS is committed to always doing better and B Corp certification is another tool in our toolbox to help us do that.
What do you think is the importance of being a B Corp for your customers?
Our customers have always been driven by a desire to give back. We are also seeing an increase in customers demanding transparency, accountability and sustainability to inform their purchase decisions. Consumers are voting their values with their wallet more than ever.
Our B Corp certification provides external validation that our processes and approach have a true impact and it pushes us to always strive for improvement.
How much does your business look to other B Corps as partners/suppliers?
TOMS is constantly working to challenge ourselves to make the most meaningful impact. We are inspired by the work of other B Corp partners who are leaders in the impact and sustainability space and continue to push us to do better. We strive to work with B Corp partners and suppliers whenever possible and take pride in knowing they uphold similar standards.
What are your key learnings from the process of becoming B Corp certified?
We use the B Corp process as a moment to reflect on what we have achieved together with the TOMS community and set clear goals for what we can tackle next. Because of its scope, it is also a way to ensure thinking about impact and sustainability are not siloed — but really infused throughout the whole company. Bringing the B Corp certification to life brings all aspects of the business into the process, of course our impact team but also supply chain, legal, HR, etc. Everyone has a role to play.
What does the future look like for your business?
I’m very excited for the future of TOMS. We are proud of the lives we’ve impacted to date along with our community and giving partners, and we’re even more excited about what the next 100 million lives impacted will look like. There are many big issues facing the world today, several of which we see in our own backyard. Our experience has shown us that change happens at the grassroots level so we look forward to working with and supporting communities in order to help build a more equitable world.
This article has been posted by MaCher to celebrate B Corp Month 2021 and build awareness of companies that meet the highest standard of verified social and environmental performance. For more information about TOMS, please click here.