B Lab Visits B Corp Dansko Footwear
By Afnaan Moharram
On Friday, July 12, our staff from B Lab visited Dansko Footwear's Headquarters in West Grove, PA. It was the first B Corp I’ve visited, and they sure had me impressed by the time we left! I grew up with a mom and aunts that appreciate Dansko’s comfortable footwear, so touring the administrative offices and learning about the efforts that Dansko makes to treat its workers, its community, and the environment better just made me like them more.
Dansko is a leading developer and marketer of premium comfort footwear, as well as a Founding B Corp. It was founded in 1990 with its signature simple flexible-bottom clog. Since then, its footwear has grown to include both casual and dress shoes that range from sandals to boots. All of their products strive to bring comfort and relief to one’s feet, especially if standing or walking for long periods of time. Learn more about Dansko here.
The office building is LEED® Gold Certified! Certification is awarded by the U.S. Green Building Council for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED). The headquarters features an eye-catching living wall of plant life in the lobby (one of only four in the US), which catches volatile organic compounds from the air and acts as an air filter for the entire building. The headquarters has a beautiful green roof! Although it was raining when we visited, the view was still very nice and we were told that employees often eat their lunches and that some meetings take place there. Dansko also hosts its township’s only Community Recycling Station.
Dansko’s current B impact score is 110, which is much higher than the average score of 80; it stands out compared to other businesses that have completed the B Impact Assessment due to its very commendable governance policies and treatment of workers. As our tour guide showed us around the building, one could plainly see that the atmosphere was relaxed and cozy. The offices were roomy with plant and windows aplenty, and departments decorated their spaces differently. There is an on-site gym, showers, a pool table, meditation rooms, and a nice cafeteria‒ all some of the features that are meant to make every day work life more enjoyable. Dansko employees receive two free pairs of shoes every 6 months as well, and the company is entirely employee owned. Employees are also paid to take time off to participate in volunteer work; Dansko matches the percentage of their salary spent during volunteering and gives it to the organizations at which their employees volunteer.
Our tour took us to the various departments on-site, and one of the most exciting parts of this was seeing the marketing and design departments. Getting a glimpse of the product design process was exciting! Of course, no photography was allowed because there were prototypes in there that might make it out on store shelves in upcoming seasons. As it is, the introductory session of our tour occurred where their recent showroom took place and next season’s lines were still on display. After our tour, we perused the company store for some deals, with some of us trying on Dankos for the first time. It was an educational and enjoyable trip, and definitely not an opportunity I could have had if I weren’t working at B Lab.
You can read more about Dansko’s impact and see how they scored on B Lab’s B Impact Assessment here!