Becoming a member of the certified B Corporation community is a significant accomplishment for brands working to put sustainability at the forefront of their mission. The B Corporation community is a growing movement of more than 6000 companies that are reinventing business by redefining what success means; not just economic, but also the wellbeing of people, communities and the planet.
Part of the registration process requires these companies to legally embed their commitment to purpose beyond profit in company articles. B Corporations must also pass a rigorous 360-degree evaluation to become part of the community of companies striving not only to be the best in the world, but also the best for the world. This evaluation covers five key impact areas of Governance, Workers, Community, Environment and Customers.
It has become a focus of a number of vendors to the run specialty business and recently two of them — Oboz and Buff – reached that significant milestone with B Corp. certification. Here’s a look at how and why these two companies made the effort to ingrain sustainability in their corporate culture.
Oboz Joins The B Corp. Movement
Oboz Footwear, the “True to the Trail” outdoor footwear company headquartered in Bozeman, MT, recently joined the B Corp community of companies using business as a Force for Good.
“Achieving B Corp certification is an incredible milestone and the culmination of our team’s hard work and ongoing collaborations across our entire network of suppliers and partners,” explains Amy Beck, Oboz Footwear president. “B Corp certification is another step in a long journey to becoming the best corporate and global citizen we can be.”
Like other B Corp. companies, Oboz performance was measured across five impact areas: governance, workers, customers, community and the environment. The company had to document its positive impact to apply using the B Impact Assessment tool and undergo an independent verification process every three years to achieve and maintain certification.
While Oboz officially entered its journey towards B Corp. certification in 2021, it has been acting as a Force for Good since its founding in 2007. From the beginning, Oboz has planted a tree for every pair of shoes sold and to date has planted more than million trees. The brand continues to not only be mindful of the environment through its materials and operations decisions, but has also made progress in its social and community related initiatives.
Through partnerships with organizations such as Black Folks Camp Too, The Conservation Alliance and the Continental Divide Trail Coalition, Oboz has been able to exact change on the greater good in its local, outdoor and greater communities.
“We are very proud of what we have achieved and we know there is a lot of room for additional collaboration and impact,” adds Beck. “Being a part of the B Corp. community – and its rigorous certification process – keeps us focused and accountable while connecting us with a broad network of businesses that inspire us and others to continue to push each other for the greater good.”
Oboz has identified climate, circularity and community as initial areas for improvement. In terms of climate and circularity, Oboz is focusing its attention on material choices and science-aligned targets and emission reductions within its operations and value chain. As for community, Oboz is working to expand its healthcare benefits offering and working to increase employee diversity among other community related goals.
Oboz’s certification comes simultaneously with the B Corp. certification of its parent company, KMD Brands, and each of its sister brands, Rip Curl and Kathmandu, who received their certification and recertification respectively.
“Achieving B Corp. certification across a large and diverse business like KMD Brands is a credit to them and an inspirational demonstration of how to do better business at scale,” says Jodi Beasley, senior director of community, B Lab U.S. & Canada. “Their focus on continuous improvement sets a leading example for other businesses and sends a powerful signal that will further advance change in the outdoor, lifestyle and sports sectors and our broader global economic system.”
‘B’ for the Buff
Buff, the maker of headwear and neckwear accessories for running and other outdoor activities, also recently joined the movement of registered B Corporations in grand fashioin, scoring 105.7 in its first round of testing, a major accomplishment in elevating its “Do More. Now” sustainability program.
“From day one, we have been committed to choosing the responsible path with every decision. We are honored to stand alongside other sustainable organizations leading the global movement for an inclusive, equitable and regenerative economy,” says David Camps, Buff CEO. “It’s a proud moment to receive validation for our teams’ work to help forge a brighter future. It doesn’t end here; we are more excited than ever to push further, build better, and design cleaner.”
Since its inception, Buff’s corporate vision has included a focus on people and the planet. A family-owned business headquartered in Barcelona, Spain, the company manufactures 90 percent of its products in-house using 100 percent renewable energy. Last year Buff reached a milestone of recycling more than 41 million plastic water bottles to make its products.
Additionally, Buff started a garment-making school to create meaningful local job opportunities and give people at risk of social exclusion the skills needed to succeed in a textile manufacturing career.
Buff also recently unveiled a collection produced at its Barcelona factory that utilizes more recycled and natural materials than ever produced before.
“Bringing our manufacturing back to our birthplace in Barcelona has been a primary goal for the brand and we’re thrilled that in addition to our neckwear, a selection of our performance caps are now being made in-house too,” adds Camps. “This allows us to further reduce our carbon footprint by cutting transport costs, lowering carbon emissions and ensuring the utmost quality-controlled products for our customers.”
These new Buff products are engineered from sustainable materials such as Repreve polyester made from recycled plastic water bottles, recycled polyamide and 100 percent organic cotton.
“Our goal is to continually improve and be the best that we can for our consumers, retailers, employees and the planet,” adds Marta Torner, sustainability manager at Buff. “Over the coming years our goal is to further reduce our carbon footprint, with a focus on supply chain and with an interim milestone of becoming carbon neutral in our own operations by 2023.”
As part of the process, the brand has formalized 12 new policies, ensuring its commitment to sustainability in all aspects of the business. The policies range from ethical marketing practices to a climate change policy intending to measure and reduce the company’s environmental impacts. Buff plans to keep investing in sustainable product innovation as well as increase the number of products made at its in-house facility from 90 to 100 percent. n