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The Golden State has long been a coveted destination—from its cultural and environmental diversity to its plethora of opportunity, California is home to it all. But with all the things we love about this great state comes the responsibility to take care of them. Luckily, there are dozens of brands that give back to their communities and the planet, helping to protect the elements we’ve come to adore.
From donating profits to volunteering in the community, there are endless ways for California’s businesses to give back. Here are a few shining examples of the positive impact humanity can make when we commit to taking care of one another.
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Headquartered in: San Francisco
Allbirds is a sustainable shoe brand turning unconventional materials into high-quality kicks. From using everything from castor bean oil and recycled bottles to superfine merino wool and renewable sugarcane, this company finds innovative ways to reduce its impact.
In addition to fostering environmentally friendly practices in the shoe-making process, Allbirds donates its gently used shoes to Soles4Souls, a nonprofit that gives shoes to those who need them most and helps micro-entrepreneurs provide for their families. In turn, this helps to keep the items out of the landfills and empowers individuals to rise out of poverty by selling the gently used shoes.
As an ethical clothing company—and one of the most fashionable clothing companies that gives back—Amour Vert is dedicated to reducing waste and making the most of our natural resources. With this in mind, Amour Vert produces a whopping 97 percent of its items just miles away from the San Francisco office, reducing the carbon footprint associated with many clothing manufacturers.
Amour Vert also sources ethically made materials—such as organic cotton, wool, and certified silk—and works directly with mills to craft fabrics, rather than settling for less eco-friendly fabrics that have already been created. If that weren’t enough, Amour Vert goes even further, planting a tree (in partnership with American Forests) for every tee purchased. This has led to a huge impact over time: planting 313,947 trees in North America thus far and eliminating the release of 130,811 tons of CO2, saving over 11 billion gallons of water, and reforesting 1,569 acres of land.
Made in: Los Angeles
As a Certified B Corporation, Avocado Green Mattress is on a mission to do good. While they’re delivered across the country, the mattresses are all handcrafted in Los Angeles. Avocado Mattress is also Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) and Global Organic Latex Standard (GOLS) organic certified—and is one of only five mattress brands in America to have both. Along with these sustainable standards, the company is a member of the 1% For The Planet organization, donating one percent of all revenues to environmental nonprofits to help make the world a better place.
Headquartered in: Santa Barbara
FinalStraw is on a mission to eliminate single-use plastic—especially plastic straws, which are typically only used for a couple of minutes before ending up in our waterways or landfills for hundreds of years.
Along with setting this incredible goal and doing something about our society’s destructive habits, FinalStraw’s reusable straws and utensils are products that give back thanks to the company’s partnership with 1% for the Planet. A minimum of one percent of its annual sales is donated to nonprofit organizations fighting to advocate for animals, empower women, educate youth, and protect the environment.
Headquartered in: Culver City
Causebox is unlike any other subscription box company. It curates seasonal collections of ethically and sustainably sourced products from makers across the world. Along with shedding light on all these artists committed to doing good, Causebox partners with the artisans to send girls to school, plant trees, donate books to kids in need, volunteer in their community, and much more.
MABLE crafts bamboo toothbrushes that make excellent plastic-alternatives. Each toothbrush handle is fully biodegradable and made from renewable bamboo, while the bristles are crafted from non-toxic, BPA-free nylon that can be plucked out and recycled at certain facilities at the end of its useful life.
On top of helping to solve our plastic crisis, MABLE donates a toothbrush to a child in America for every toothbrush sold. Unlike other companies that give back, however, MABLE takes it a step further by going into schools to teach kids about making sustainable decisions and maintaining proper personal hygiene.
Headquartered in: San Diego
OM Matters is a yoga brand with a mobile app as well as yoga cards, clothing, and candles. It’s easily one of our favorite fitness businesses that gives back because for every item of yoga clothing sold, OM Matters donates 10 percent of the proceeds to provide at-risk youth with the opportunity to experience yoga. In turn, this experience helps kids deal with their stress, focus better in the classroom, and learn coping mechanisms that can last a lifetime.
Based in Southern California, Outerknown is an outdoor brand focusing on top-notch performance swimwear. Founded by surfing legend Kelly Slater, this company is one of the pioneers in the outdoor apparel industry, turning used fishing nets into clothing and giving plastics found in the ocean a new life as fresh buttons.
Like many companies that give back to the community, Outerknown’s philanthropy efforts are spurred by the founder’s passions. Cleaning up the oceans is the foremost cause Outerknown tries to solve, creating T-shirts whose proceeds are donated to the Ocean Conservancy as well as organizing advocacy campaigns and beach cleanups.
Headquartered in: Ventura
Patagonia is perhaps California’s best-known brand that gives back. Founded in Ventura with a deep commitment to preserving the lands that Yvon Chouinard adored, Patagonia has a long history of trying to do the right thing. On top of aiming to do no harm, this outdoor gear brand has partnered with 1% for the Planet since 1985, adding up to tens of millions of dollars over the years.
Headquartered in: La Jolla
When Griffin Thall and Paul Goodman were living in La Jolla with newly earned business degrees from San Diego State University, a thirst for adventure, and a passion for catching waves, the furthest thing from their minds was building a million-dollar enterprise. But after a light-hearted surfing trip, Pura Vida Bracelets was born, inspired by a couple of Costa Rican artisans.
Since starting their company, Thall and Goodman have been committed to giving back and providing a better way of life for the creatives who bring their vision to life. Along with supporting small-scale craftspeople who might not otherwise have access to stable employment, Pura Vida donates a percentage of every sale to the Surfrider Foundation through a partnership with 1% for the Planet. The brand also supports various other causes such as the Autism Society, Charity: Water, and Coral Reef Alliance.
What began with two young men purchasing 400 bracelets from a couple of artisans in Costa Rica has resulted in employment for 800-plus artisans worldwide and millions of dollars in impact. Pura Vida Bracelets proves that profit doesn’t have to live independently from positive environmental and social contributions.
Rachael Medina is the staff writer and content manager for California.com. She was born and raised just outside the Mojave Desert in Southern California and moved to the redwood forests of Humboldt C…
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