Brennan Whitfield | Mar 13, 2024

Social responsibility is the act of being accountable to the public and taking steps to benefit people, the planet and society as a whole. In this sense, socially responsible companies are concerned about more than the bottom line — they also care about the environment, ethical business practices and human rights issues.

Many companies have emphasized corporate social responsibility, or CSR, in recent years, not solely out of benevolence, but also because it attracts customers, investors and employees. A 2017 study found that 78 percent of consumers want companies to take a stand on social issues, and 87 percent will buy products from a company that advocates for an issue they care about.

Socially Responsible Companies

  • Allbirds
  • Ben & Jerry’s
  • Bombas
  • Google 
  • HP
  • Intel
  • Microsoft
  • Patagonia
  • Toms 
  • Warby Parker


Why Is Social Responsibility Important?

For companies, practicing social responsibility is important because of their influence and ability to allocate resources on a large scale. Socially responsible companies can make a positive impact on society in many ways, such as by donating to nonprofits, reducing their carbon emissions, using eco-friendly materials, promoting diversity or speaking up on human rights issues. Plus, socially responsible companies can see a boost in their brand image, employee morale and customer retention, leading to long-term profits as a result.

Below, we take a closer look at some of the more notable socially responsible companies and their visions to make the world a better place.

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Socially Responsible Companies to Know

How it’s a socially responsible company: Data science company Celonis focuses on process mining, which takes data from core business processes and analyzes it for actionable insights. The company’s social responsibility initiatives include sponsoring every “Celonaut” for up to three annual days of community volunteer work as well as numerous executive-sponsored employee groups for women, Black and LGBTQ+ team members. The company also runs the Celonis Aspire Program, which directly funds educational opportunities.


How it’s a socially responsible company: GoodRX runs a telemedicine marketplace platform where users can track the prices of prescription drugs. It also provides discount coupons for medications, lab tests and doctor visits, which many customers rely on to make affordable the costs of their incidental or ongoing medications. The company operates with the mission of making healthcare more affordable and accessible to all.  


How it’s a socially responsible company: MyBambu connects people to financial solutions through its mobile app. Users don’t have to provide a social security number and the company accepts more than 450 different types of identification, aligning with MyBambu’s mission to cut down on the number of people who struggle to access products and services for managing their money because of their immigration status. In support of its social responsibility pledge of “generating a positive impact for all immigrants,” MyBambu participates in various community events and initiatives, such as Christmas toy drives, health fairs and school supply donation collections.


How it’s a socially responsible company: Novo Nordisk develops new therapeutics and conducts clinical trials to innovate treatment of medical conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease and haemophilia. It’s committed to a sustainable and socially responsible approach to doing business, which has resulted in initiatives across its operations. For example, the company sources renewable power for all of its production sites and is working to further cut down on carbon emissions by setting a goal of making sure its direct suppliers also operate on renewable energy. Novo Nordisk is also expanding the reach of Changing Diabetes in Children, a program that brings medicine and medical care to young people with type 1 diabetes who are living in low- and middle-income countries.


How it’s a socially responsible company: Bonterra’s social impact software is built to help bring as much money as possible to the nonprofits and organizations that need it to do good in the world. Its products for corporate social responsibility cover grants management, giving and matching programs and volunteerism to support global giving engagement initiatives and streamlined donation procedures. Bonterra’s overall purpose centers around producing technology solutions and proactively working “for the greatest good.”


How it’s a socially responsible company: Magna International is a mobility tech company that makes products for the automotive industry. In addition to producing components like vehicle seating systems and body exteriors, the company develops ADAS systems like “Personal Park Assist” and “Occupant Monitoring System,” all designed to eliminate human error and thus reduce vehicular injuries and fatalities. The company is committed to transitioning to 100 percent renewable electricity in all of its European operations by 2025, and globally by 2030. It’s also targeting net-zero emissions by 2050.  


How it’s a socially responsible company: Toast builds technology solutions for restaurants of all sizes from small town cafes to enterprise brands operating across multiple locations. The company is part of the corporate philanthropy movement Pledge 1% and has committed to putting 1% of its equity into communities. Toast created a philanthropic branch known as Toast.org, which focuses on taking action in a way that will “create a healthier, more sustainable and equitable world.” Its initiatives have included partnerships to cut down on food packaging waste and support for nonprofit organizations that provide restaurant industry training in underserved communities.


How it’s a socially responsible company: PatientPoint offers products and services that allow medical providers to better engage their patients throughout the care journey. The company created the PatientPoint Foundation “to bring a different approach to health equity issues and help mitigate health disparities.” The charitable organization seeks to build community partnerships with groups that share its mission, as well as to deploy technology and other resources with the goal of promoting healthy behaviors and improving health literacy.


How it’s a socially responsible company: Athletic apparel brand Adidas strives to use environmentally preferred materials in 90 percent of its products and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 15 percent per product by 2025. It also plans to achieve carbon neutrality across its entire value chain — from raw material production to own operations — by 2050. Additionally, Adidas aims to have a system in place to identify and manage high risk human rights issues across its value chain by 2025.


How it’s a socially responsible company: Allbirds, a direct-to-consumer shoe and apparel company, uses natural materials like wool instead of synthetic materials. A certified B Corp, it pledged in 2021 to cut its carbon footprint in half by the end of 2025 and is more than halfway to meeting that goal (it hopes that gets to near zero by 2030). In 2023, it also announced its design of the M0.0NSHOT shoe, the world’s first shoe created with net zero carbon emissions.


How it’s a socially responsible company: Bombas, a certified B Corp, direct-to-consumer sock and apparel brand, gives back to those in need by donating one item of clothing for every item purchased. As of 2023, the company has donated more than 100 million items such as shirts, socks and underwear to overnight shelters, rehabilitation centers and more. Bombas also uses recycled and organic cotton in its socks.


How it’s a socially responsible company: Cisco has donated $494 million in cash and in-kind contributions to community programs, including its career training program. The company has also committed to investing $150 million for technology education and technology modernization at historically Black colleges and universities, and it has provided technology equipment and donations to Ukraine, too. Cisco plans to reach net zero carbon emissions across its value chain by 2040, and renewable energy is used to power 89 percent of its operations.

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How it’s a socially responsible company: Google has been carbon neutral since 2007 and is now working to transition to carbon-free energy sources by 2030. Additionally, since 2014, Google has invested more than $90 million to achieve equity in computer science and higher education, more than $400 million to create economic opportunities for communities of color as well as more than $45 million and 50,000 pro bono hours to support racial justice organizations.


How it’s a socially responsible company: HP reduced its greenhouse gas emissions by 59 percent compared to 2015 levels, and it plans to reach net-zero emissions across its entire value chain by 2040. HP expects to transition entirely to renewable energy by 2025. More than 110 million ocean-bound plastic bottles have been retrieved and reused in HP’s ink cartridges. The company also aims to accelerate digital equity through educational programs and partnerships.


How it’s a socially responsible company: Intel derives 93 percent of its electricity from renewable energy sources, and it aims to reach 100 percent by 2030. In its manufacturing process, the company expects to reach net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2040, as well as achieve net-positive water and zero waste to landfills by 2030. Additionally, Intel spent $2.2 billion with diverse suppliers in 2022, reaching its goal to spend $2 billion annually with diverse suppliers by 2030.


How it’s a socially responsible company: Microsoft has pledged to go beyond carbon neutral and become “carbon negative” by 2030. The company also aims to replenish more water than it uses and become zero waste by 2030. It also advocates for human rights, teaches in-demand digital skills and provides rural communities with affordable broadband access.

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How it’s a socially responsible company: Stitch Fix, an online clothing retailer that makes personalized outfit recommendations, is more than halfway to meeting its goal of using environmentally preferred materials in its private label products by 2025. The company also takes measures to ensure fair working conditions at factories for its private label brands and its vendors. Stitch Fix also makes an effort to promote diversity among its vendors and runs a grant and mentorship program for entrepreneurs of color.


How it’s a socially responsible company: UL Solutions is a safety science company — you may know the name from the UL Listing, a quality control seal that certifies a product has been rigorously safety tested for residential or industrial use. UL’s social responsibility initiatives include a dedicated DEI staff and partnerships with local, regional and global charities like Habitat for Humanity and Watts of Love.


How it’s a socially responsible company: Warby Parker has been selling prescription glasses and sunglasses online since 2010. A certified B Corp, the company’s Buy a Pair, Give a Pair program donates a pair of glasses or sunglasses for every pair sold. The company also provides free vision screenings, eye exams and glasses to school children through its Pupils Project, which distributed more than 200,000 screenings, 69,000 exams and 53,000 pairs of glasses in 2022 alone.

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How it’s a socially responsible company: All Good is a certified B Corp that creates organic lotions, sunscreens, deodorants and other body care products. The company’s sunscreen is made of mineral-based, non-GMO ingredients that are not harmful to coral reefs, and utilizes cruelty-free practices for product testing. All Good is also a certified climate neutral company, using solar energy to power its California production facility and donating one percent of its sales to global causes and environmental organizations.


How it’s a socially responsible company: Ben & Jerry’s has been supporting progressive causes for decades. The company’s website states that it “strives to be a social justice company that creates ice cream” by partnering with Black-owned suppliers, creating renewable energy from its waste and taking a stand on social issues. The company, owned by Unilever, became the first wholly owned subsidiary to gain B Corp certification in 2012. By 2025, the company aims to be completely powered by renewable energy and reduce its greenhouse gas intensity by 40 percent.


How it’s a socially responsible company: Dr. Bronner’s, which manufactures soap with organic, vegan and fair trade products, has been preaching peace and unity for decades on its distinctive product labels. The Certified B Corp also makes a positive difference in the world by packaging its soap in recycled plastic bottles, providing free healthcare to employees and ensuring the total compensation of its highest-paid employees is capped at five times that of the lowest-paid fully-vested position.


How it’s a socially responsible company: Gotham Greens grows leafy greens and herbs in hydroponic greenhouses in urban areas. A certified B Corp, the company has pledged to reduce its plastic packaging by 40 percent by 2024. It also aims to reduce its electricity use and greenhouse gas emissions by 5 percent by the end of 2024. Finally, it seeks to provide at least 75 percent of its leafy greens and herbs to partners located within 50 miles of its regional greenhouses.


How it’s a socially responsible company: Johnson & Johnson, the manufacturer of pharmaceuticals, medical devices and consumer health products, gets more than half of its electricity from renewable energy sources. The company aims to be completely powered by renewable energy sources by 2025, have operations to be carbon neutral by 2030 and achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2045.

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How it’s a socially responsible company: Lemonade is a digital insurance company that has shaken up the industry’s business model. After covering the cost of claims and operational expenses, Lemonade distributes any leftover money from your insurance premium to the nonprofit of your choice. The company said it has donated more than $6 million as of 2023. Lemonade is also a Public Benefit Corporation and a Certified B Corp.


How it’s a socially responsible company: Levi’s has pledged to reach net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. The company estimates its Water<Less manufacturing process has saved nearly 13 billion liters of water between 2011 and 2020. Levi’s also created a worker well-being program in 2011 to provide health education, family welfare programs and financial empowerment for its apparel workers. The company plans to roll out the program to every factory in its supplier network by 2025.


Nike budgets 2 percent of its previous year’s income for community investment, and it has donated nearly $70 million out of a planned $125 million to organizations working to address racial inequality, according to its 2022 impact report. About 93 percent of the electricity for Nike’s owned-and-operated facilities comes from renewable sources, and the company plans to reach 100 percent renewable energy by 2025. The company also diverts 99 percent of all shoe manufacturing waste from landfills, and it converts its waste into new products, playgrounds, running tracks and courts.


How it’s a socially responsible company: Outdoor apparel retailer Patagonia has long donated one percent of its sales to environmental causes, but founder Yvon Chouinard recently took the company’s corporate citizenship to new heights in 2022 when he transferred ownership of the company to a trust and a nonprofit committed to tackling climate change. Patagonia, a certified B Corp, also invests in regenerative organic farming practices, recycled materials and providing a living wage to apparel factory workers.


How it’s a socially responsible company: Qualcomm, which manufactures semiconductors and wireless technology, has pledged to reach net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2040 and reduce power consumption in its flagship Snapdragon products by 10 percent every year. The company has also educated 1.5 million people with its technology education programs and introduced wireless technology to 25 million people in underserved communities around the world.


How it’s a socially responsible company: Salesforce announced in 2021 that it had reached net zero carbon emissions across its value chain and that it purchases enough renewable energy to match its electricity usage. The company has invested $100 million in public education in Oakland and San Francisco and $165 million in schools and education nonprofits around the world. The company has also committed to donate $200 million to racial justice causes, spend $100 million with Black-owned businesses, and double its Black leadership in the U.S.


How it’s a socially responsible company: Shoe brand Toms started in 2006 with a promise to donate one pair of shoes for every pair sold. After reaching 100 million shoe donations in 2020, Toms discontinued its shoe donation program but started donating one-third of its profits to grassroots organizations. In 2022, Toms donated $1.7 million in funds to support causes for mental health, access to opportunities and ending gun violence. A certified B Corp, Toms also aims to use 100 percent sustainable cotton in its products by 2025.


Frequently Asked Questions

What is a socially responsible company?

A socially responsible company is a company that takes actionable steps to benefit people, the environment and society as a whole.

Donating to nonprofits, using eco-friendly materials in products and speaking up about human rights issues are a few ways companies can be socially responsible.

What is an example of a company being socially responsible?

Microsoft pledging to become carbon negative and zero waste by 2030 is an example of a company being socially responsible.

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