Conscious Step gives an ordinary purchase, extraordinary purpose

Who knew a pair of socks could plant trees, provide clean drinking water or protect elephants? Conscious Step makes all of these social impacts possible through the purchase of their socks.

Conscious Step was founded in 2013 by three friends, Prashant Mehta, Hassan Ahmad and Adam Long. From a young age, Prashant's mum encouraged him to give back.

“Each weeks allowance was accompanied with an envelope to donate to different causes. This always reminded me that whatever my issues, there were always people suffering,” says Prashant.

After graduating from Bryant University in Rhode Island, Prashant moved to Sydney. As he travelled around, he searched for ways to use his skills to give back and connect with others. While working on a few projects he noticed people enjoy giving back to causes they are passionate about particularly when it is convenient such as donating coins at the checkout. During this time, close friend and medical doctor Hassan Ahmad completed an internship with the United Nations World Health Organization (WHO) where he learnt about the United Nations Millennium Development Goals. Today they are known as the Sustainable Development Goals, a collection of 17 goals that set the framework for global action to end poverty, protect the planet, and achieve peace and prosperity for all, now and in the future.

One night Prashant had a dream about socks that make the world a better place. He pitched the idea to Hassan and Adam and together they launched Conscious Step, a purpose-for-profit company that raises money for non-profits and empowers people to support environmental and humanitarian causes through the purchase of socks. The tangible impact each pair of socks provides is aligned with the cause framework developed by the United Nations and their Sustainable Development Agenda.

“Conscious Step is really about bringing philanthropy into First World mainstream culture; it's about making philanthropy a part of everyone's day-to-day lives. Aligning with the United Nations Global Goals ensures our wearers are creating impact for the most pressing global issues while taking a stand for the cause that matters most to them,” says Hassan.

But, why were socks chosen as the vehicle for change? Hassan says socks are an everyday necessity that every person buys. “There is also no brand loyalty around socks which makes it easier for conscious consumers to switch to another brand that better aligns with their values and makes a positive difference in the world.”

Conscious Step socks are a highly ethical product. The purchase of each pair supports emerging markets and small cotton farmers in India. All workers are paid fair wages with overtime compensation and no child labour. Conscious Step's manufactures are well known in their local communities for their efforts to support farmers and workers' lives by not using harmful pesticides and fertilisers, adhering to organic and sustainable farming methods, and supporting labour unions. They are dedicated to protecting the well-being of the ecosystems where the cotton is grown and the health of the farmers who grow it. They train their farmers with the latest organic methods and practices and generously give back to the community by selling vegetable and fruit trees to their workers at subsidised prices. They also treat 800,000 litres of water each day through their treatment plant instead of releasing it into nearby rivers. To date, Conscious Step and its customers have:

  • Protected 115,000 rainforest trees;
  • Provided 58,401 meals for children;
  • Donated 37,485 books;
  • Provided 66,216 days of HIV and AIDS treatment;
  • Supplied 605,246 months of clean water; and
  • Planted 279,227 trees.
Prashant believes every person has the ability to inspire change.
“When we all make conscious decisions about our products and their impact on our planet, we can collectively move towards a brighter, poverty-free world.”

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