In 2015, the United Nations established a set of 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) declaring that the path to true peace and prosperity would come through sustainable actions that benefitted all people and the entire planet. We believe the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals are a call not only to nations, but to businesses and entrepreneurs. At John’s Crazy Socks, we have answered that call by committing to fulfill the sustainable development goals set forth by the United Nations.
A TV Show in Japan that highlights companies supporting the SDGs just ran a profile on John’s Crazy Socks and you can see that segment here.
The UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
A statement from the United Nations explains the 17 SDGs: “Ending poverty and other deprivations must go hand-in-hand with strategies that improve health and education, reduce inequality, and spur economic growth – all while tackling climate change and working to preserve our oceans and forests.”
John’s Crazy Socks was inspired by John Lee Cronin, a young man with Down syndrome, and his love of colorful and fun socks. He and his father, Mark X. Cronin, started the company in 2016 as a social enterprise as they have both a social and a business mission that are indivisible. John’s Crazy Socks has a mission to spread happiness by showing what people with differing abilities can achieve.
Mark X. Cronin says of the Company’s commitment to the SDGs, “THE UN’s SDGs set a standard for nations, but each business must ask, what are we doing to make the world better? What are we doing to create more opportunities, more equality and to do so in a way that is sustainable?”
“We believe a business has an obligation not only to its owners, but to its employees, customers and community. We are only a small business, yet all we want to do is change the world.”
The John’s Crazy Socks mission aligns with the SDGs. In particular, we advocate, support and carry out three of the SDGs:
- GOAL 4: Quality Education: We advocate for equal access to education for all people including people with differing abilities.
- GOAL 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth: As an entrepreneurial organization, we are committed to creating decent, jobs paying fair wages, jobs where our employees are treated with dignity and respect. By Specifically, we seek to create jobs for people with differing abilities in a country where the unemployment rate among people with a disability is as high as 80 percent.
- GOAL 10: Reduced Inequality: With a mission to show what people with differing abilities can achieve, we work to protect and advance the rights of people with differing abilities. This means supporting the right to work and receive fair wages and having equal access to education, health care and public services.
Our commitment to the rights of people with differing abilities is inspired by our co-founder, John Cronin, who is not only an entrepreneur, philanthropist and advocate, but he happens to have Down syndrome. John is the first person with Down syndrome to win the EY Entrepreneur of the Year.
Mark Cronin said, “Committing to the SDGs aligns with our mission and values and sets a clear path forward for us. Once we make that commitment, once we believe in the SDGs, that belief becomes manifest in all aspects of our business.”
Pursuit of the SDGs starts within the John’s Crazy Socks organization which has created 31 jobs, more than half of them held by people with differing abilities.
John Cronin says, “We make sure everyone is treated fairly.”
The Company starting salary is above the minimum wage so that employees can earn a living wage. The work is structured to support the needs of people with differing abilities. And everyone is treated with dignity and respect.
“We want John’s Crazy Socks to be a great place to work,” says John Cronin.
To promote education, decent work and reduced inequality, John’s Crazy Socks would hold school tours and welcome work groups from area high schools and social service agencies so that students could gain important training and gain an understanding of their opportunities to work. During the pandemic, the Company has brought these programs online, thus reaching students from India to Israel to England to Guyana and across the United States and Canada. The Company also sponsors an Autism Can Do Scholarship, giving access to higher education for a person on the autism spectrum.
To support entrepreneurs with a differing ability, John’s Crazy Socks is developing an online market where businesses owned by, led by, or focused on people with a differing ability can sell their services. These are social enterprises that we want to match with like-minded consumers.
The Company co-founders, John and Mark, have taken to the road, both physical and virtual, to advocate for the rights of people with differing abilities and to promote the SDGs. They are frequent keynote speakers at conferences where they extol the virtues of employing people with differing abilities. In 2019, John and Mark, spoke at the United Nations as part of the International Entrepreneurial Summit Addressing the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals. They have twice testified before the U.S. Congress advocating for the right to work for people with differing abilities. And they are part of the U.S. State Department’s Speaker’s Bureau and serve as ambassadors for the cause of disability rights.
Mark Cronin is a member of the CEO Commission on Disability Employment and the Autism @ Work Roundtable. These groups of business leaders share best practices in hiring people with differing abilities and work with other business to support the hiring of people with differing abilities. Mark is also a Board member in the Long Island chapter of the Entrepreneurs Organization, the world’s largest peer-to-peer network of entrepreneurs, which works with the United Nations to support the SDGs.
To further their commitment to reduced inequality, to promote educational opportunities and economic growth with decent jobs, John’s Crazy Socks has an extensive Giving Back program baked into their business. They start by pledging 5 percent of earnings to the Special Olympics because John and many of the staff are Special Olympic athletes. The Company has raised over $400,000 for charity partners such as the National Down Syndrome Society, Autism Speaks and United Cerebral Palsy.
And the Company is currently working with a team from Cornell University to examine its packaging so they can develop more sustainable packaging.
“There is no one thing we do to support the SDGs,” says Mark Cronin, “every part of our business and everyone on our team finds motivation in pursing the SDGGs.”
The full list of 17 SDGS includes:
The SDGs also explicitly include disability and persons with disabilities 11 times. Disability is referenced in multiple parts of the SDGs, specifically in the parts related to education, growth and employment, inequality, accessibility of human settlements, as well as data collection and the monitoring of the SDGs.
Although, the word “disability” is not cited directly in all goals, the goals are indeed relevant to ensure the inclusion and development of persons with disabilities.
To learn more about the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals, visit their website.
For more information about John’s Crazy Socks, visit our webpage, Facebook page, Instagram account or YouTube channel. You can also contact us at 631-760-5625 or via email at email@example.com.