5 Brilliant Kids Brands That Give Back

Image: One World Play Project

The face of corporate charitable giving is changing rapidly as consumers increasingly expect more from the brands they buy from. We seek out 5 great kids brands that are giving back.

Social responsibility and ethics matter more to business than ever before. From corporate behemoths like Starbucks developing community stores and funding baristas though college, to small start-up family businesses committing to ethical sourcing, investing in social good is quickly becoming an expected business norm.

Successfully pioneered by brands like Toms, the ‘one for one’ giving model in particular is gaining traction with consumer brands, with everything from torches and footballs to wellington boots and toothbrushes being donated to those in need when someone buys a product. Others opt for the more straightforward donation option: with a cut of their profits going directly to charitable causes, a particularly notable act for smaller businesses, most of whom already face challenges to their bottom line.

We have found 5 great brands in the children’s sector (that are available to buy in the UK) who are giving back. So next time you buy a pair of sunglasses or a bottle of suncream, why not help someone in need at the same time? 

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1. Green People

In 1997 Charlotte Vøhtz started searching for natural skincare products for her daughter who suffered from eczema and skin allergies. And so Green People was born, which today has grown into one of the UK’s most loved organic skincare brands. So much so that their shampoo is rumoured to be the Duchess of Cambridge’s go-to for Princess Charlotte. Their baby and children’s range covers everything from toothpaste and shower gels to nappy cream and sun lotions – all certified organic and free from harsh chemicals.

Still a family-run company, sustainability, fair trade and ethics are core to the brand and an impressive 10% of their net profit is donated to charitable causes each year, as well as supporting further charities (including Chestnut Tree House children’s hospice and Penny Brohn Cancer Care) through partnerships and fundraising.

Find out more about Green People

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2. The One World Play Project

After seeing footage of children in developing countries playing football with balls made from rubbish, Tim Jahnigen, with funding from musician Sting, developed the One World Futbol in 2010 – a virtually indestrutable ball made from specialised foam that re-inflates on its own and can withstand heat, cold and the rocky terrain that many children are forced to play on.

On a mission to bring the ‘transformative power of play to millions of children who need it most’, the project has delivered over 1 million balls so far to communities around the world, with their ‘Buy One Give One’ sales program being an integral part of their strategy – for each ball sold, a second ball is donated to disadvantaged communities. Now rebranded as the One World Play Project, the company has developed a similarly durable cricket ball and more products and campaigns are in the pipeline.

Buy a One World Futbol and find out more here.

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3. Smart Buy Glasses

Super slick US glasses store Warby Parker is well known for its charitable program, but closer to home Dorset-based Smart Buy Glasses have been quietly making a huge impact with charitable partner Unite for Sight. Through a simple ‘buy one give one’ program launched in 2009 the company has now donated $2.3m worth of glasses to communities around the world, helping over 78,000 people. Some 300 million people globally don’t have access to glasses, impacting their ability to learn and work – the donation of a pair of simple prescription glasses makes a tangible social impact and transforms lives.

As well as adult glasses and contacts, they also stock a wide range of infant and kids glasses, ski googles and sunglasses, including the ever popular kids Ray-Ban Junior Wayfarers, with free delivery, price matching and 100-day returns. Making a difference while iPad shopping really couldn’t be any easier…

Go shopping at Smart Buy Glasses here.

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4. Mini Noms Noms

Husband and wife team, Lisa and Imrat Sohanpal are shaking up the kids ready-meal market with their award-winning Nom Noms World Food range. Internationally-inspired, the range eschews the traditional shepherd’s pie and lasagne options in favour of Tiffins, Tagines, Laksas and Thalis, all formulated to be family-friendly and introduce young palates to more exotic flavours. All the meals are nutritionally balanced, with no added salt, sugar or additives and are packed with fruit, veg and pulses. For families who want to eat together, they recently launched Mega noms noms – the same range but in two-course adult-size servings (with extra spice thrown in).

And that’s not all. The brand works closely with the Askhaya Patra Foundation who cook and deliver daily nutritious meals to 1.5 million school children in India. Currently sponsoring an entire school of 271 children in the city of Mathura, the company has provided more than 100,000 meals already, with the goal of sponsoring 200,000 a day per 2020 using proceeds from the sale of their meal change.

The meals are currently exclusive to Ocado but will be rolling out in other retailers soon.

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5. Lilly & Sid

Boutique British brand, Lilly & Sid, started life as a babywear range in 2009 but quickly grew into a full childrenswear collection, with stockists including Harvey Nichols and Harrods as well as expanding into overseas markets. The brainchild of married couple Emma and Imran Hassan, the brand’s goal is to bridge the gap between traditional and fashion-led childrenswear, with quality pieces at sensible prices.

Manufacturing is split between the UK and overseas but the company is committed to working with only a small group of foreign factories who are certified by the human rights group Social Accountability International. Their Pakistan factory boasts its own water purification unit and funds a local school. Perhaps unsurprising, then, that Lily & Sid made The Guardian’s ‘Top 10 ethical childrenswear brands’ list. And did we mention that they also donate 1% of profits to charitable causes each year?

Shop Lilly & Sid here (while the sale is still on!)

 Kate Douglas-Hamilton is Mr Fox co-founder. A recovering lawyer, she now writes about food and kids technology. She has one son, aged 4. Find her on Twitter @katedh.