August 7, 2008

Oregon Soap Company: Buy some Soap, Plant a Tree.

Thanks to a basket of Oregon Soap, elephant’s often less-than-presentable office bathroom smelled like a minty fresh forest, and never totally embarrassed us. And our hands were always sparkly (and organically) clean. But the details of Oregon’s deliciously natural soap have already been covered in Jenny’s review. I’m here to talk about trees. 

As if offsetting 150% of all carbon created during soap production wasn’t enough, Oregon Soap Company is now planting one tree for every 10 bars of soap sold online. So far, they’ve planted over 2,000 native trees and shrubbery in the Portland area (hopefully not all in one backyard).

Marketing gimmick? Sure, but it’s the kind we like—it actually does some good—and it’s a smart one (it certainly is an incentive to buy more soap). But it’s also part of Oregon’s overall mission to build sustainability into their brand and prove that conservation and industry needn’t always be enemies. In the words of Oregon “soapman” Sat Atma Singh:

“I know it’s the ‘in’ thing for businesses to claim they do this and that for the environment, but how do you really know it’s happening? Rather than giving a set portion of our profits to organizations, we give a set amount per product sold. We work with an established, local non-profit for the tree plantings, and I’m also a crew leader on the plantings. So I get to not only give the funds to make it happen, but also get wet and dirty planting them.” 

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