Get this. A sock company, Conscious Step, is tackling the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals head on—or I guess feet first—and making a huge impact across the board of causes!
What are the UN Sustainable Development Goals?
Definitely something we travelers should be aware of, and do our part to have an impact on!
On 1 January 2016, the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development — adopted by world leaders in September 2015 at a historic UN Summit — officially came into force. Over the next fifteen years, with these new Goals that universally apply to all, countries will mobilize efforts to end all forms of poverty, fight inequalities and tackle climate change, while ensuring that no one is left behind. – un.org
Those 17 goals mentioned, they are:
- No poverty
- Zero Hunger
- Good Health & Well-Being
- Quality Education
- Gender Equality
- Clean Water & Sanitation
- Affordable & Clean Energy
- Decent Work & Economic Growth
- Industry, Innovation, & Infrastructure
- Reduced Inequalities
- Sustainable Cities & Communities
- Responsible Production & Consumption
- Climate Action
- Life Below Water
- Life On Land
- Peace, Justice, & Strong Institutions
- Partnerships For The Goals
One of my college roommates, Preshant Mehta, is actually a co-founder of this awesome company, but it’s not because I know him that I’m sharing this story. I’ve been following the growth of Conscious Step since its launch in 2012, and I just love the concept! Sweet looking socks that help transform in the world for the better. It’s beautiful.
So recently, I caught up with Prashant to learn a little bit more about the company, the socks, the impact, and the vision.
Here’s the model.
You buy a pair of socks, and something awesome happens for the world. This is possible because each new sock is designed specifically for a cause, a UN goal, and each respective sock design has a partner organization doing work to achieve that goal.
For instance, you can get a pair of socks that fight hunger, and in doing so, by way of partner organization Action Against Hunger, you’ve just provided 6 food packs to malnourished children in one of 45 countries in which they work worldwide.
Of those 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals, Conscious Step has targeted 5 so far. Their current socks fight hunger, give water, education children, treat HIV, and plant trees. And the impact from each single sock is impressive! Literally, one Conscious Step sock of each design:
- Provides 18 months of clean water through Water.org
- Provides 2 books to school children through Room to Read
- Provides 6 food packs through Action Against Hunger
- Provides 1 week of HIV therapy through UNAIDS
- Plants 20 trees through Trees for the Future
How the company came to be.
After graduating Bryant University, my buddy Prashant moved out to Australia. Though he is currently headquartered back in New York today, it was there that he connected with co-founders Adam Long and Hassan Amad, and began working on Conscious Step. What inspired the startup?
Being a foreigner in a foreign country, Prashant was looking for ways to connect with the culture and find his place. He found fulfillment in giving back and it was while spending time with a few different projects he noticed some things.
For starters, people love to give back. Or really, love the idea of it, and we will do it when it’s convenient. Also, taking note of the LIVESTRONG movement, people like recognition. We crave acknowledgment and like to show off that we give. Selfless acts are rarely selfless. But also, most importantly, people have strong innate desires to raise awareness about causes we are passionate about.
Cofounder Hassan Amad moved to Denmark as a medical doctor interning at the World Health Organization, and there he learned about the UN Development Goals. He, Prashant, and marketing strategist Adam Long, were inspired.
They then set out to create a lifestyle movement that would incorporate causes into the most basic and convenient of day to day products. Socks.
What if every pair of socks you wore was helping the world?
One other thing I wanted to know, was how Prashant felt about his choice to give up the cushy Wall St. finance job and go full-time with Conscious Step. It’s always a risk, pursuing the entrepreneurial path, whether that be launching a product, a service, or hell, a travel blog! More often than not though, the adventure is the reward and success will find you when you work hard enough at it. His reply –
It’s been exhausting. There have been ups and downs and every day is a new challenge. But you find ways to balance, and you learn to pace yourself for the marathon rather than burn out on the sprint.
I’ve learned skills I never would have, and I’ve challenged myself in ways I couldn’t have expected possible. I’ve sacrificed to define my own success and as a result, have been able to travel the world building this. So yes, I think it has been worth it.
If every business chose even just one of those UN Sustainable Development Goals to support, finding a way to align their company mission or sales strategies with the pursuit of creating a better world, we would have a pretty damn nice place to call home!
Along with plans to release ankle socks this summer, and women’s socks by next Fall, Conscious Step is planning to go after all 17 of those goals in their product line. And I for one will play my small part in making sure my business socks are making a big difference for both my feet and the world!