Tom's of Maine: a Case Study in Corporate Social Responsibility

Photo of Fern Senra-James

Fern Senra-James

Managing Director

Countless companies have come to the realization that giving back to the environment, community or other good causes via corporate social responsibility (CSR) creates greater customer loyalty, employee pride and satisfied investors. This makes social responsibility — as well making those efforts known — imperative for companies hoping to build a strong brand that stands the test of time.

A great example of a company’s commitment to improving the environment and communities far and wide is Tom’s of Maine. This is a company that’s just as well known for its various corporate social responsibility ventures as it is for its healthful and natural personal care products. In fact, the company just released their 2015 “Goodness Report,” where anyone can explore the success of their efforts.

In this report, Tom’s of Maine’s Goodness and Public Relations Manager Susan Dewhirst stated, “In 1970, our founders believed we could offer high quality, natural personal care products while minimizing our environmental footprint. Now, 45 years later, we are just as inspired by this commitment and find our employees, consumers and even our suppliers are right by our side caring for people and the planet.”

This commitment has become part of their culture. Some impressive aspects of their social responsibility policy include:

  • Giving 10% of its profits to organizations that support environmental or human goodness, and soliciting public input regarding where those funds should go.
  • In keeping with their environmental protection goals, none of their products are tested on animals and all are nontoxic.
  • They encourage employees to use 5% (or 12 days) of their annual workdays to get out and volunteer in the community, and in 2014, 95% of their employees did.
  • With 21 different recycling streams and even more planned, Tom’s of Maine has ambitious waste elimination plans. In 2014 they reduced their waste-to-landfills ratio by a whopping 70% and hope to generate no waste at all by the year 2020.
  • To reduce the environmental impact of carbon dioxide trucks generate when shipping their goods, Tom’s transports most of its product by train. If they do use trucks to make local shipments, they either share the truck with other companies of fill the trailer to its maximum weight.
  • Through a partnership with TerraCycle called the Tom’s of Maine Natural Care Brigade®, volunteers were able to keep 11,000 pounds of packaging out of landfills. They’ll even do this for packaging from any brand’s personal care items, and encourage individuals to participate.
  • In 2014, Tom’s gave more than $500,000 to help seed grassroots nonprofits in all 50 states.
  • Their website provides plenty of fun tips for living “green.”

Thanks to Tom’s of Maine’s extensive social responsibility programs, they consistently delight, win and retain customers – not to mention how they keep employees happy by prioritizing what’s important to them. This is a lesson for all companies, big or small, to note and apply to their own corporate cultures. Moore Communications Group’s MCG Impact is our own way of recognizing the individual passions of our employees and giving them the support they need to make a difference in something that’s important to them. Fostering these passions has become engrained in our office culture and the positive impacts we’ve seen over the years in the communities we serve have been remarkable.

So if you’re looking to jumpstart a corporate social responsibility plan, listen to what I’m telling you works – let your company’s CSR culture attract employees with the same passion to make a change, and that commitment to make a difference will naturally flow and exceed your expectations beyond belief.