NEW YORK, Sept. 25, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- In a bold move that signals its evolution from a company that provides aid to one that also invests in the communities in which it gives, TOMS has announced that it will manufacture new pairs of shoes in Haiti beginning in January 2014. The announcement was made today during the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) Annual Meeting by TOMS Founder and Chief Shoe Giver, Blake Mycoskie, in revealing the CGI commitment named "Large Scale Shoe Production and Job Creation in Haiti."
"TOMS is extremely proud and excited to make this commitment, and we would not be in this position if it wasn't for President Clinton's ongoing leadership and inspiration," said Mycoskie. "Three years ago at CGI the President asked me to help support the people of Haiti, and TOMS responded by giving hundreds of thousands of new pairs of shoes to children in need. Today, our dedication to Haiti is so much greater, and we look forward to creating jobs and opportunities in Haiti over the next several years."
At present, TOMS shoes are manufactured in China, Argentina, Kenya and Ethiopia. The company is actively seeking to produce a minimum of 1/3 of all of its giving shoes in geographic regions where its shoes are given – using local labor and local resources – by the end of 2015. For Haiti, TOMS' has made a five-year commitment to produce millions of its giving shoes in country – and to support the growth of a responsible, sustainable Haitian shoe industry.
Initial production will take place in a 10,000 square-foot facility located in Port-au-Prince and be dedicated to TOMS giving shoes to ensure that the shoes produced will directly benefit surrounding communities. TOMS also expects to generate local partnerships to support infrastructure and workforce support systems surrounding employees, their families and the broader community. TOMS executives will visit Haiti regularly to participate in the improvement of the production facility and oversight of fair living wages and working conditions.
The commitment to break ground in Haiti is not just the largest-single step in this direction for TOMS, but will, for the first time in TOMS' history, be an opportunity to support the development of vital public-private partnerships, substantial employment opportunity, and collaboration with the U.S. government on import and export opportunities from the country's nearest and poorest neighbor.
TOMS' commitment has been several months in the making, with the company having worked closely with Haitian President Michel Martelly's office, the Primature of Haiti, the Minister of Commerce and Industry, the Center for Facilitation of Investment (CFI) and PACEGI – Haiti's Advisory Council on Economic Growth and Investment. Over the past year, TOMS has also been collaborating with over 30 artisans in Haiti to design a successful, limited edition series of retail shoes under the Haiti Artists Collective banner. This collaboration will continue.
Mycoskie added, "Today marks a major milestone for TOMS, but we hope it means even more for the people of Haiti, who have had to endure so much over so many years. By making such a strong commitment and business investment, we hope to inspire other companies in the fashion and footwear industries to follow suit."
In 2006, American traveler Blake Mycoskie befriended children in a village in Argentina and found they had no shoes to protect their feet. Wanting to help, he created TOMS, a company that would match every pair of shoes purchased with a pair of new shoes given to a child in need. One for One.® To date, TOMS has given over 10 million pairs of new shoes to children in need.
Five years later, TOMS realized this movement could serve other basic needs and launched TOMS Eyewear. With every pair purchased, TOMS will help give sight to a person in need. One for One.® Since launching, TOMS has helped save or restore sight for over 150,000 people in 13 countries.
As more everyday choices have the power to impact the lives of those around the world, the TOMS movement will continue to grow and evolve.
About the Clinton Global Initiative:
Established in 2005 by President Bill Clinton, the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI), an initiative of Bill, Hillary & Chelsea Clinton Foundation, convenes global leaders to create and implement innovative solutions to the world's most pressing challenges. CGI Annual Meetings have brought together more than 150 heads of state, 20 Nobel Prize laureates, and hundreds of leading CEOs, heads of foundations and NGOs, major philanthropists, and members of the media. To date CGI members have made more than 2,300 commitments, which are already improving the lives of more than 430 million people in over 180 countries. When fully funded and implemented, these commitments will be valued at $76.7 billion.
CGI also convenes CGI America, a meeting focused on collaborative solutions to economic recovery in the United States, and CGI University (CGI U), which brings together undergraduate and graduate students to address pressing challenges in their community or around the world, and, this year, CGI Latin America, which will bring together Latin American leaders to identify, harness, and strengthen ways to improve the livelihoods of people in Latin America and around the world. For more information, visit clintonglobalinitiative.org and follow us on Twitter @ClintonGlobal and Facebook at facebook.com/clintonglobalinitiative.