While there are plenty of fashion-focused "buy one, give one" companies, this is a one-for-one model that isn't as mainstream: vitamins. Founded in the summer of 2010, Build Nutrition manufactures prenatal vitamins for pregnant women and for every one bottle of the good stuff sold, one is donated to a woman in need. Build Nutrition’s giving program involves repeatedly giving the same mother vitamins as to ensure that the family benefits entirely from the micronutrients from pregnancy, through nursing and beyond.
Despite the criticisms surrounding the one-for-one mantra, it is, of course, not a substitute for humanitarian aid nor does it circumvent the ethical qualms that giving -- especially from the industrialized world to the less-industrialized world -- can so often entail. However, by building strong partnerships like Build Nutrition does, the social and health impact can be further enhanced and also studied. For instance, by coupling donated bottles of vitamins with maternal health education, the impact can have more long-lasting benefits on the entire community and not just on the woman who received the bottle. Furthermore, Build Nutrition ensures that the vitamin bottles are recycled rather than polluted in the environment in which the women live.
One of Build Nutrition’s latest partnerships is with Vitamin Angels, an organization dedicated to reducing child mortality around the world through increasing access to micronutrients like Vitamin A, which are essential to newborns, infants and children under five years of age. The prenatal vitamins themselves include a physician-formulated blend of 17 ingredients (more information is available in detail on Build Nutrition’s website).
Founders Josh Rubin and Gabriel D’Amico-Mazza were inspired to start Build Nutrition by the growing movement of social entrepreneurship worldwide and the opportunity to bridge the gap between non-profits and for-profits by offering a socially innovative product that gives just as much as it sells. Rubin and D’Amico-Mazza chose vitamins as their product because of the enormous amount of needless malnourishment worldwide -- 30 million undernourished babies are born each year and 190 million children have poor vision due to a vitamin A deficiency.
As we all know, the stats about malnutrition are seemingly endless. What’s interesting about offering essential nutrients through a one-for-one giving scheme is that because of the high cost to benefit ratio, vitamins are an affordable method of creating positive social change in a life-changing way -- literally.
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