Softstar Becomes B Corp Certified!
We're proud to announce becoming certified as a B Corporation, the latest verification of our commitment to walking lightly on the earth. B Corp certification is a stamp of approval for meeting high standards of environmental and social responsibility.
Softstar was founded almost four decades ago by Tim Oliver, who started making healthy footwear for his young daughters out of a broken-down school bus. Tim lived frugally and utilized resources sparingly. Over time, he established a community dedicated to preserving nature and promoting long-term sustainability. Softstar has grown into a 12,000 square foot workshop in rural Oregon, continuing to thrive even after 37 years.
After taking over the company from Oliver in 2005, Tricia Salcido modernized while respecting the company’s original purpose. Despite the big shoes to fill, Trish remained resolute carrying forward a sustainability ethos as cornerstone of the company's mission.
What is a B Corp?
The "B" in B corp stands for "Benefit." Benefit Corporations are legal company structures (like C-Corps or S-Corps) that are designed for companies that consider social and environmental impact just as important as profitability. Many businesses have community-minded values, but becoming a Benefit Corporation ensures these objectives are written into their legal DNA. In addition to changing its legal structure, a company can get B Corp certified. B Corp certification is a third-party validation of a company's claims of meeting high standards of environmental and social stewardship.
Companies that display the “B Corp” logo are trusted to not be greenwashing their products and services. To achieve certification, Softstar passed a rigorous assessment after going through several levels of audits. This process took over a year to accomplish and it has to be re-certified every three years. Currently fewer than 1 out of every 10,000 USA companies are Benefit Corporations. Softstar joins the esteemed footwear ranks of AllBirds, Toms, and Vivo Barefoot in being B-Corporation certified. Some other notable B Corps include Ben and Jerry's, Patagonia, and The Body Shop.
How Did Softstar Qualify?
Softstar not only strives to assist our customers in developing strong foundations and healthy feet, but we also pride ourselves on surpassing the norm and making a positive impact. It's a business model designed to support employees, the environment, and the local community.
Employees enjoy wellness benefits, team activities, and ongoing training opportunities. Softstar's sustainable culture includes an energy-efficient, family-friendly workshop that is wind and solar-powered as well as a beautiful employee garden. The company donates 100% of revenue from scrap-made pet toys to charity and has been one of Oregon’s 100 greenest companies for eight years in a row.
When B Lab did their in-depth assessment of the materials we select, the auditors commented that their favorite shoe in our lineup is the Zen Moccasin. The merino wool uppers are 100% Oeko-Tex Standard 100 certified.
B Lab's five conditions that B Corps must meet:
- Accountability. Management must consider the company’s impact on all stakeholders: employees, society, community and environment.
- Transparency. Companies must publish and make a public report of social and environmental performance.
- Performance. Companies must attain a minimum score on the B Impact Assessment and file to re-certify every three years.
- Availability. Any business can become a B Corp, regardless of its country or state of incorporation.
- Cost. Companies pay certification fees to B Lab, with the size of the fee depending on their revenues.
HTM Elf Benjamin has been a graphic and web designer for 15+ years and came to Softstar in 2021. He made the switch to zero-drop shoes in 2016 after years of arch pain from running in conventional footwear, and hasn’t looked back. He has an art degree from Portland State University and enjoys minimalist shoes for hiking and gardening.