We alluded to a Australian retail company in a post early last year, relating how they donated money to environmental charities for every carry bag their customers did not take with purchases. The name of the chain is Paddy Pallin. Their latest endeavour in the social/environment realm is to give customers a $50 AUD discount on the purchase of new footwear, when they trade-in their old boots. These boots are then sent to the group 'Porters Progress', who run an gear library. From humble beginnings with just 12 jackets, they can now outfit up to 500 Himalayan porters at any one time. Trekking companies leave a refundable deposit to obtain the clothing, boots and equipment to provide safety and comfort for porters as they support trekkers. On completion of the trip "the gear is washed, repaired, and returned in exchange for the initial deposit." This is a superb project, like the SWAG initiative previously noted, but with the added benefit of a fully functioning Product Service System (PSS). Inspiring. ::Porters Progress. The International Mountain Explorers Connection IMEC was founded in 1996 in Boulder, Colorado to "promote responsible and sustainable connections between travelers and the people of developing mountain regions of the world." As well as being supporters of Porters Progress in Nepal, they also assist porters in Tanzania and Peru with a similar scheme. Read more ::here.
(Disclaimer: In a galaxy far, far away, I was once the designer and product manager for Paddy Pallin.)