Saturday, July 3, 2010

Lululemon + Social Responsibility

While all companies have to make a profit to stay in business, some do this while simultaneously doing good.  This good includes good for individuals, good for the community, and good for the environment; just to name a few.  For those in PR, this "good" is fondly referred to as Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR).

Lululemon Athletica, a yoga-inspired athletic apparel company has made CSR one of its founding and guiding principles since it opened its doors in 2000.  Their mission? Creating components for people to live a longer, healthier, and more fun life.

I've been wanting to write a post on why I think Lululemon does CSR best, but here a quick few reasons I can re-cap in a few minutes.  Longer, more detailed post to follow.

1. Positivity Manifesto

They issued a simple, but brilliant "manifesto" mashing together upbeat quotes, ideas, beliefs, reminders - essentially presenting a "positivity poster." This manifesto became one of the early Lululemon trademarks and hasn't gone out of style.  The manifesto appears on their recyclable, durable shopping bags, given to every customer, for every purchase made.  In addition to the bags being environmentally friendly (they make great lunch totes), each time a Lulu fan flashes them around in a public place, an onlooking eye might just pick up on a few uplifting notes and have a mood improvement.  This type of thinking is obvious in all of the programs they run, the spaces they occupy, and the employees they hire. 

2.  Grassroots Community building

If you live near a Lululemon, this second point will be obvious.  Lululemon hosts free yoga classes in all of their stores, weekly fun runs, health clinics and exercise clinics, and group yoga.  The goal?  Empower local Lululemon employees to help engage and build a community of like-minded, health driven fans.  Last week, for example, I attended a Lululemon run in Bethesda, MD and met 10+ new friends. 

After the run, Eric (who lead the run) took us all inside for water and granola bars. 

3.  Healthy-habit building for individuals

If you poke around a Lululemon store, you'll notice framed pictures of staff with My 10 Year Goals
sketched out.  If you read their blog, you'll find posts on Big Hairy Audacious Goals (BHAG).

Role-modeling?  I think so. You'll also find water bottles you can write your goals on and branded reminders such as:

What companies do you think stand out for social responsibility?


  1. Enjoyed this post, Lauren.

    I fully believe in supporting organizations that understand they have a responsibility to the community they serve. The examples you cite for Lululemon show that they really get it.

    I also admire Patagonia and Whole Foods for similar commitments to the greater good.

  2. Thanks Lauren - and you're right about Whole Foods and Patagonia. I've loved both of these companies for these very reasons for as long as I've known about them. Honest Tea is another great example - and headquartered right in DC's backyard! You have a great blog - we should meet up some day. Sounds like we have a lot in common :)

  3. Hi Lauren,
    It was great to meet you this evening at Lululemon's run club! I enjoyed reading your blog about Lulu, and couldn't agree more!!