It's hard to believe that just a few years ago, Gardens of the Sun was a one woman operation with a dream to make a difference, creating jewelry on a wooden door turned into a table.
Today, it’s a whole different story - being officially B Corp certified!
31 January 2023 marks a special day in our little business’ history. It’s the day of achieving B Corp certification. We're talking fancy certificates and everything ;-)
*Cue confetti drop*
To us, this is no ordinary certification. It's like, a pretty big deal.
If you’d seen me the moment we finally received the news via email, you would've witnessed me bouncing off the walls with excitement levels higher than a toddler after destroying their first piñata. So yeah, I’m pretty proud to be carrying this very reputable badge of honor.
Hold on, what’s a B Corp?
Now, I know what you might be thinking - what the heck is a B Corp and why are we so darn excited about it? Well, let me fill you in on the deets.
B Corp certification means an independent third party confirms a business is doing good for the world. It's a way for brands to show they're not just in it for the profits, but for the impact they can have on society and the environment too.
Not all companies that claim to be sustainable actually live up to their promises.
(I know, I know… You’ve heard this before).
This is, of course, called greenwashing, and unfortunately, there are no regulations to prevent companies from using buzzwords like "sustainable" and "eco-friendly" without real evidence to back it up.
B Corporations, however, are closely inspected, evaluated and held to high standards of transparency of their environmental and social impact. It’s going beyond good intentions, and into action and impact.
So, when you see that B Corp logo, you know that company is doing the real thing when it comes to having a positive impact.
Achieving that B corp logo, though?
I’m not gonna lie: it wasn't an easy journey to get here.
This certification process isn't simply a filling-out-a-form kinda thing. We had to put in some serious effort, gather all the right information, deep dive into every aspect of our business and show our dedication to doing good. From the tape we use and how we select our gemstone supplier, to our employee handbook, team survey results and sourcing assessments. All to prove that our actions match our values, and that those values are incorporated into our business practices and policies.
The assessment process was rigorous, challenging and uncomfortable at times. The level of transparency pushed us out of our comfort zone. But it was also an opportunity for us to take a good, hard look at ourselves and be honest about where we truly are as a company.
It took years of soul-searching, self-reflection, and a whole lot of determination to get where we are today - and become the 33rd jeweler to earn this badge of honor.
But why become a B Corp
(if that long path ahead is so hard and intimidating)?
Well, we didn't want to just talk the talk. We wanted to walk the walk, and show the world we're serious about making a difference. We wanted to put our money where our mouth is. By getting certified, we're telling the world, "Hey, we're not just talking about being ethical, traceable and transparent and helping our community, we're actually doing it".
We measure success not as a checklist to tick off. Instead, we prioritize impact and continuous growth as our version of 'success'.
Because let's be real, making a positive impact on society and the environment is no small feat. But here at Gardens of the Sun, we have a deep and unshakable belief in the power we have to change the world.
And that change, the impact we have, is very concrete. For example, a study by the World Bank found that our mercury free gold collaboration with indigenous women miners, gave them access to finance and created “a positive ripple effect on poverty, gender inequity, and human and environmental health”.
To us, B Corp certification offers a global standard to follow to have an even better impact, and third party proof our jewelry is leaving a positive imprint on the world.
So why wouldn't we want to join the B Corp movement and be a part of this amazing community of changemakers and do-gooders?
Giving isn’t the same as being ethical
Sure, it's great when a tech giant donates laptops to underprivileged schools, when a big oil company tosses a few bucks to sponsor a local little league team, or when a fashion brand funds a wildlife conservation project. And who doesn't love seeing a packaging company build a home for a homeless family?
But do these acts of giving truly make a company morally sound?
Does that one act of kindness automatically make them a "good" company?
The truth is, most companies don't realize just how much of an impact they have on our world. So, when they try to do good, it's often just a drop in the bucket compared to the damage they may have caused. Or it’s a drop in an entire different community than the one they’re impacting.
It's like when you opt for the petite scoop of ice cream instead of the chocolate sundae after a giant serving of pizza - it doesn't undo all the damage. This kind of "good deed of the day" just muddles up the whole "purpose" scene, which can sometimes feel more like a PR stunt rather than a genuine act of kindness. We believe in giving from the heart and soul, not just as a way to polish up our image.
Transparency = the new good
B corp means more than ‘just’ a label. Sure, we could fly solo without the official title, but we’re not content with asking ourselves: “Is this good enough?”. Instead, we prefer to challenge ourselves and ask: “is this enough good?”
And let's face it, in a world filled with ‘greenwashing’ - where companies just talk a big game about doing good without followthrough - B Corp certification sets businesses apart. It's a symbol of trust that tells consumers, "hey, this business is the real deal". Proving that our actions match our values and that we're not just hiding behind a false image of sustainability.
A Mission Beyond Ourselves
When we became a B Corp, we made a promise to more than just ourselves. We promised to make a positive impact on everyone we touch - from our workers to our community to the planet. The 'B' in B Corp stands for 'Benefit for All.' We're all in this together.
To become a B Corp, a company is scored on each area, and reviewed several times, until you get an overall score - which has to be at least 80 in total. That's the benchmark. The average business as usual only scores about 50.9.
Now, what did Gardens of the Sun score?
Our score was a solid 82.3. Yup, we rocked that test!
Although we believe perfection is overrated, we know there’s, obviously, still work to be done to improve our performance.
Because ultimately, it's a journey, not just a destination - cliche as it may be - and we're in it for the long haul. Which means, we're already working on improving our score for the re-certification in 2026.
Why lay all our B Corp cards on the table? It's simple, really. We believe true transparency and constant improvement are key to being a responsible and impactful business. And by sharing our score, we're letting you in on our journey and giving you a glimpse of where we stand and what we're working on.
How does that change Gardens of the Sun?
Well, it means that your jewelry from Gardens of the Sun is more than just a pretty accessory.
It means your jewelry is as ethical as we say it is.
It means we walk the talk (to the point we probably do a lot more walking than talking).
It's a symbol of something bigger - a promise that the jewelry you wear is proven to meet high global standards of ethical business practices.
What were the highlights of the B Corp assessment for Gardens of the Sun?
Here are some of the things we're especially proud of:
As a female-led business, we're all about being open and honest with our performance, looking at ethical leadership from within. We improved transparency from the management and gave more people in the company a voice in big decisions. And we’re so happy with this change.
We pay all our employees above minimum wage, and they all get health insurance, a pension, and paid parental leave for both moms and dads. Plus, 75% of our employees are women, and 100% of managerial positions are filled by women. We even have a weekly yoga class together to keep it zen.
We give back to the community we source gold from by offering scholarships. Since most of the jewelry we make is for women, we support women’s health. And, we make sure our gold is coming from the right sources - traceable and ethically sourced.
We source gold from artisanal miners that have pledged not to deforest, use recycled silver, and planted over 55,000 trees in Indonesia and Madagascar. Plus, we offset our direct and indirect carbon emissions - well beyond merely offsetting shipping.
We listen to what our clients have to say and make changes based on their feedback. You are just as important to us as the miners and artisans we work with, so we like to make sure you keep raving about this favorite little jeweler of yours.
All in all, we're pretty proud of what we’ve accomplished and can't wait to keep making a positive impact!
What’s Next for the Gardens of the Sun B Corp Journey?
Becoming a B Corp is just the beginning. Every three years, each B Corp gets re-audited to see how they’ve improved, and if they’ve kept up with B Corp qualifications. If you haven’t measured up, your B Corp status gets revoked. So it's a constant effort to improve and do better (aka: no rest for the wicked).