“For every pair of glasses that Warby Parker sell, they give a pair to someone in need.”-Warby Parker’s BCorporation Summary.
This is not the first company with this type of one-for-one giving strategy, everyone knows Tom’s Shoes. However, Warby Parker is unique in their strides to promote CSR.
Warby Parker’s Buy a Pair, Give a Pair Program has distributed over a million pairs of glasses to people in need. They have focused on glasses in underprivileged areas, because 703 million people worldwide currently do not have access to eye care. Glasses have been shown to increase productivity by 35% and income by 20%. Along wight their main charity partner, VisionSpring, Warby Parker has worked to not only donate, but also to train. VisionSpring has trained 18,000 workers in the manufacture, distribution, and reception of glasses.
Warby Parker is carbon neutral. They have invested in renewable credits to offset their greenhouse emissions. However, they are not generating any of their own renewable energy. In their 2013 report from BCorporation, while the average company received a grade of 9, they received a 5. This seems like an unusually low score for a carbon neutral company.
Warby Parker was founded on the principle of delivering designer-quality eyewear at an affordable cost. While they have philanthropic ends, they care about the customer as well. The majority of their lenses sell for $95, prices never exceed $300.
I started researching Warby Parker very skeptically. I had believed in Toms Shoes, and was distraught over the allegations of ineffective shoes and dubious distribution efforts. I’m not as naive anymore. But Warby Parker seems like the real deal. They may want to invest in renewable energy to decrease dependency on credits.
I’m cautiously optimistic about Warby Parker’s genuine aims to be a better business.
We’ve all been burned by greenwashing before, but could Warby Parker be the real deal?
Featured Image Courtesy of: VisionSpring