The debate about the TOMS “buy one, give one” model is not new. In sum, TOMS promises that for every pair of shoes it solds, it will give away another pair of shoes to a child in need. So what’s wrong with this? Critics suggest that donating shoes in this way fails to address one of the most important root causes of poverty: a lack of access to fair-paying, sustainable employment” and moreover, undermines local markets.
Today, it appears that TOMS might actually be listening to and responding to this criticism. TOMS recently announced that beginning in January 2014, they will begin to employ 100 Haitians and build a ‘responsible, sustainable’ shoe industry in Haiti, further pledging 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.