Oolie’s 2021 Benefit Report

What is a benefit company?

Oolie Inc is registered with the state of Oregon as a benefit company. That means we structure our business activities to create positive social and environmental changes for all. Benefit companies must benefit the public at large, not just the business itself.

What is a benefit report?

As a benefit company, we are required to publish an annual report, documenting our business activities and impacts from the prior year. In this year’s report — our first! — we look back on what we accomplished in 2021.

Oolie’s 2021 Benefit Report

Oolie Inc was established in 2021, so: Hello! 👋 We’re new here. 😊

From inception, we adopted the B Corporation third-party certification standard. The first step toward B Corp certification is to complete a B Impact Assessment, a rigorous self-assessment process of evaluating company practices across five broad categories: governance, workers, community, the environment, and customers.

To get certified as a B Corp, we take actions that benefit others, and then pursue a rigorous process of documenting and demonstrating that positive impact. Those public benefits can take many different forms, such as:

  • sourcing only organic materials and pursuing our own organic certification
  • working with vendors that compensate and care for their employees
  • partnering with local companies in the Pacific Northwest, when possible

We chose the B Corp standard because we both value a growth mindset approach of ongoing learning and improvement. After the initial self-assessment — and once B Corp certification is granted — the company must continue to grow and change in order to maintain certification, year after year. We appreciate this commitment to perpetual improvement.

Our B Corp status is currently pending, as we’re just getting started on this journey.

Also, since we’re getting started, we’re busy making intentional decisions now that will create benefits for years to come, as we grow and continue pursuing our mission:

To improve quality of life for families through comfortable, functional, and beautiful bedding solutions that are socially and ecologically responsible by design.

That said, here is what we did in 2021 to drive measurable positive impacts in 2022.

Governance

First and foremost, we serve families. That includes the families of our employees, vendors, and customers. We have focused on the experiences of parents as workers in particular in developing our policies and procedures. 

To formally align company policies with these values, we developed internal governing documents (such as our code of conduct and employee handbook), which include:

  • A menstrual health policy for employees
  • A policy on children, lactation, and other parenting needs during the workday, which allows our employees to structure their time in accordance with their needs
  • Our commitment to prioritizing collaboration with BIPOC-owned, woman-owned, and local businesses
  • Remote-first hiring policies and company culture to reduce carbon footprint from commuting and travel
  • Our commitment to exclusive use of GOTS materials and processes in the production of our goods

Workers

  • Oolie is 100% woman-founded and woman-owned. (In 2022, we will apply for WBENC Certification.)
  • To hire our first contractors, we partnered with The Mom Project, which supports women who are returning to work, after taking maternity leave or extend career leaves for raising children.

Community

  • We have been successful in collaborating with vendors who share our values, as well as women and BIPOC-owned local businesses in our sampling and R&D processes. 

Environment

  • Limit air, water, and ground pollution by supporting organic farming methods and partnering only with GOTS-certified vendors
  • Limit water pollution by only using fabrics dyed with AZO-free and vegetable dyes
  • Limit fabric waste by creating patterns that make efficient use of fabric (patent pending)
  • Initiating the pursuit of our own GOTS certification

Obstacles

We strive to identify and partner with vendors who share our values. As part of the ongoing turmoil in India around organic cotton certification, one of the certifying bodies lost its GOTS accreditation, meaning it can no longer certify organic cotton on behalf of the Global Organic Textile Standard.

This development has had a massive impact on the organic cotton industry in India, where many individual farmers, processors, and manufacturers (who had previously been GOTS-certified) are losing their certifications as a result.

Unfortunately, one of our primary vendors in India was among those decertified, although this was no fault of their own; their product sourcing and manufacturing processes continue to be organic, just not certified as such. This vendor is in the process of getting recertified with another GOTS certifier, but the process takes months.

Since Oolie is committed to offering only GOTS-certified products, this development has introduced delays and other logistical complications, while we explore backup options, such as working with other manufacturers, should that be necessary.

Finally, as a new company, we don’t yet have any data for some questions on the B Impact Assessment. Looking ahead to 2022, there are two specific measures that we want to be able to capture but that we anticipate being quite challenging to capture:

  • Identifying baseline measurements of our carbon footprint, inclusive of all business operations (not just manufacturing)
  • Water usage in the production of our fabrics

Looking Ahead

Thank you for reviewing our first annual benefit report. We hope you’ll sign up for our newsletter below and join us on this exciting journey!

—The Oolie Team

Photo by Christine on Unsplash

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