“The idea of Elephant Branded is like The Big Issue in that it is run like a business, not a charity, and shows that business can be a force for good.”
That’s the view of James Munro Boon, co-founder of Elephant Branded – a social enterprise that make bags, laptop cases and wallets out of recyclable materials to make a difference.
For every one sold, a child in Cambodia gets a school bag to help them with their studies.
Elephant Branded’s ethically made, inventive, handmade products are available in The Big Issue Shop with each one – made out of former cement bags and even discarded inner tubes from motorbikes – offering Cambodian villagers a sustainable, effective way to get out of poverty.
The project began when James was studying architecture at university and spent four months designing and building a school just outside Johannesburg in South Africa.
“When we finished, I looked at the building and thought, ‘We’ve spent all this time building this thing and have nothing to put in it’,” he says. “It was great but the stuff inside the school is the most important thing.”