According to Vox, widespread “buy one, give-one” programs employed by companies from Warby Parker to TOMS don’t really address the problems of those they intend to help, and “in many cases, cause more harm than good.”
Per the story, “clothing companies rarely make actual attempts to aid causes or give people what they need.” Instead, one-for-one programs are a way to convince consumers that “we can wipe away our guilt for buying unethically made clothes through even more consumerism.”
“In the real world,” the article says, “these programs often do little to break marginalized populations out of poverty, and in many cases, cause more harm than good.”
For example, recipients of Warby Parker’s one-for-one eyewear “in countries like India who work in call centers or factories often make very low wages,” and are “forced to live in slums, sometimes waiting hours to be able to use a toilet.” While the “gift of site” sounds nice, in “the grand scheme of wages and quality of life, glasses and productivity are a low priority.”
“If the goal of Warby Parker is social mobility through philanthropy, and not just to sell more glasses by pulling on heartstrings, there are better options.”
And what are those options, you ask? The article suggests “an overseas customer service center dedicated to fair wages and other programs that create social mobility,” or a system focused on “empowering those in need to be able to afford their own glasses instead of relying on presents.”
You can read more about it at Vox.