TOMS shoes famously innovated the now widely copied and recently criticized practice of giving a product to people in poverty when someone buys one of their products. The critics appeal to the dependencies created by charitable giving which in places hurts local economies and anywhere does not empower people. The company now takes the lead in a more sustainable direction.
With a recent decision by TOMS to manufacture some of its shoes in Haiti beginning in January, 2014, TOMS plans to employ 100 Haitians and build a “responsible, sustainable” shoe industry in Haiti. TOMS founder Blake Mycoskie pledged that, by the end of 2015, TOMS would produce a minimum of one-third of all its giving shoes in places where the shoes are distributed to needy individuals.