Good Business

Offset Your Naughty

Afraid of getting coal in your stocking this year? Turn your bad deed into a win for the environment at Offset Your Naughty. Creative agency Carmichael Lynch is purchasing a carbon offset (equivalent to one metric ton of carbon dioxide emissions) for every confession, up to 400 entries.

Carmichael Lynch’s purchase of 400 metric tons is equivalent to planting 10,256 tree seedlings and growing them for 10 years, or preserving 4 acres from being deforested for a year.

So go ahead, get off that naughty list!

Good Business

Opening of the first Panera Cares Café in Clayton, MO

One of the highlights from the Sustainable Brands 2011 Conference in Monterey last week was the talk from Ronald Shaich, founder of Panera Bread, that the Panera Cares Community Café program, after just one year, is doing well and is expanding. (His talk has yet to be posted online, but the video above is from his talk last November at the TEDxStLouis conference.)

Panera Cares is a new kind of cafe – one that exemplifies an entirely different way of giving back. It is a community cafe of shared responsibility. One of the goals of this charitable program is to ensure that everyone who needs a meal gets one. People are encouraged to take what they need and donate their fair share. There are no prices or cash registers, only suggested donation levels and donation bins.

The vision for the Panera Cares Café was to use Panera’s unique restaurant skills to address real societal needs and make a direct impact in communities, … these community cafés make a difference by addressing the food insecurity issues that affect millions of Americans.

Even though Panera Bread already gives as much as $150M a year in food and other donations, Ron felt more could be done with a hands-on approach.

We don’t really do something. What we do is let somebody pick up the food [donations] and it disappears. We don’t connect with it. We don’t use our skills. We don’t make a difference in ways in which we could in the opportunities that are in front of us…

Drawing on his own experiences volunteering at food banks and food outreach organizations, he saw an opportunity to bring his entrepreneurial spirit, business experience and the resources of Panera Bread to the problem.

Inspired by a story he saw about the SAME Café in Denver, CO, he set about to convince others in his publicly traded company to take the risk and put their corporate reputation on the line and set up the non-profit Panera Bread Foundation to start opening these pay-what-you-can cafés.

Ron working the counter

There are now three self-sustaining Panera Cares Cafés (Clayton, Missouri – Dearborn, Michigan and Portland, Oregon) with plans to open a new one every four months and they are collectively on track to serve at least half a million meals this year.

On average Ron says that 20% of people pay more than the suggested donation, 60% pay the suggested amount and 20% pay less or nothing and are able to have access healthy food in a positive and respectful environment. Some people even volunteer time at the café in return for their meals. They also have so many people wanting to volunteer and support the cafés that they aren’t able to fully utilize all the donated hours.

Well done! Thank you for addressing this issue with dignity and actually doing something at a community involvement level by creating real and positive change with your resources and influence.

"Take what you need, leave your fair share."

Now let’s imagine replicating this “Take what you need, leave your fair share” model to other big businesses!

via Good


Good Business

Freewaters is a company committed to “designing the best sandals ever seen and helping to find solutions to the global drinking water pandemic”. For every pair of shoes sold they are able to provide one person with clean drinking water for one year.

Martin Kim, Freewaters co-founder
Eli Marmar, Freewaters co-founder

Founders and longtime friends Eli and Martin were looking for a way to combine their industrial design experience working at O’Neill and Burton with a project that would have a positive impact on the world. Inspired by brands like TOMS and with their background in creating wetsuits and technical footwear, they finally landed on their concept for Freewaters.

We are Freewaters, a small group on a mission to improve the quality of life through superior product experience and through creative humanitarian initiatives. More specifically, we are on two parallel and fully integrated campaigns: to design the best sandals ever seen and to help find solutions to the global drinking water pandemic

And if that isn’t enough to make a positive difference in the world as a business, they also find ways to incorporate eco-friendly materials and processes into all of their products and packaging, where possible. Even their design studio runs on solar power.

Drilling a well in western Kenya

Learn more about their clean drinking water program and follow their progress at They started their first project last December in western Kenya and are already developing a second project there as well.


Every year, more people die from the consequences of unsafe water than from all forms of violence, including war. At Freewaters we believe access to clean water is a basic human right.

via Tonic
(Photo credits: Freewaters)