Photos: Common Soles
Thongs, Flip Flops, Jandals, or whatever they are called on your beach, are the sort of casual footwear that most people don't pay much attention to. After-all they are rather ubiquitous in any sultry clime. But Common Soles have taken it upon themselves to see flip-flops as a vehicle for good works.
They use 4% from the sale of each pair to buy school books for the children of the women who make their thongs in India. And soon they also hope to release a line of footwear that also include eco-benign materials, like the prototype seen above.
The top of the eco prototype deploys woven jute (burlap) as the insole. The sole is fashioned again from jute, but in this instance it is impregnated with natural rubber for traction and durability. India is the worlds most prodigious producer of this renewable, vegetable fibre, harvesting more than 2 million tons annually.
The beads and hardware on the thongs' strap are made from polished coconut shell, while hangtags will be crafted from post-consumer, recycled paper pulp.
However, the current line of women's flip flops (five models) have no particular environmental story, other than the four percent contribution made to the purchase of school books. However, we know that education of women in developing countries is seen as a key means of reducing population growth, and resulting resource demand.
Although not a charity, Common Soles write that, "All contributions are made directly. There is no erosion of contributed funds by a third-party NGO or charity. 4% from every pair goes directly to the purchase of new school books. Additionally, Common Soles covers all other costs associated with the purchase and distribution of the books."
Common Soles is a new enterprise, with plans to add further products (mostly footwear based) and related community initiatives.
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