In 2021, consumers have easy access to virtually all of humankind’s accrued knowledge—thank you, Internet! Many even enjoy doing light background checks (a.k.a intensive Google searches), on the companies they patronize.
More recently, consumers looking to buy from sustainability-conscious companies are comforted when they see a big “B” on the boxes and tags of the products they’re buying. The “B” designation shows that the company is a Certified B Corporation—meaning it’s been vetted by nonprofit B Labs as a brand that meets high standards of “verified social and environmental performance,” public transparency, and legal accountability, “to balance profit and purpose,” according to company literature.
So-called “B Corps,” a stable that includes jewelry brand Monica Rich Kosann and clothing companies Patagonia and Eileen Fisher, have undergone B Labs’ rigorous certification process, and have undoubtedly made changes during that process to render them better and more accountable businesses. The certification process—which studies a company’s governance, workers, customers, environment, and community—is notoriously arduous (jewelry designer Rich Kosann told me it took her brand about a year to get through the process).
It’s designed that way, to support B Labs’ lofty overarching goals, which include lowering poverty levels and supporting equality, healthier environments, stronger communities, and the creation of more high-quality jobs.
Only a handful of jewelry companies have undergone the certification process, and only one watch brand, Solios Watches, has hurdled it. But the trend of consumers vetting their retailers, fueled by concern about climate change, workers’ rights, and more, isn’t going away. So, it’s safe to expect we’ll see more brands join the “B” ranks.
Here are the 18 jewelry and watch brands that have already made the grade, and have become Certified B Corporations.
Monica Rich Kosann, Norwalk, Conn.
The fine jeweler excels in all five areas of B Corp scrutiny, and notably uses eco-friendly materials in its shipping: boxes made of 70% recycled cardboard, tissue paper and marketing materials that are 100% certified by sustainably forestry programs.
Maren Jewellery, Germany
The jewelry brand uses only recycled precious metals and eco-friendly synthetic diamonds.
Fenton focuses on sourcing gems from proven-ethical mining operations that are in conflict-free zones.
Solios Watches, Quebec
The first and only B Corp watch brand, Solios watches are solar-powered, so they last, well, forever. The company also donates to causes that are helping to rebuild and protect the Amazon rainforest.
4Ocean PBC, Boca Raton, Fla.
Committed to ending the ocean plastic crisis, the brand sends boats out into bodies of water to recover harmful marine debris as a part of its mission. Additionally, every product it sells comes with its One Pound Promise to pull one pound of trash from oceans, rivers, or coastlines.
MiaDonna & Co. Portland, Ore.
The lab-grown diamond jewelry brand handcrafted in the U.S. using recycled metals.
E.C. One, London
One of the first jewelry brands to use fair-trade gold, E.C. One has teamed with climate change-focused organization Pachama to carbon off-set every piece of jewelry it makes.
Yala Jewelry, Bristol, England
Yala works with over 150 artisans in Kenya to create its products, ensuring the artisans receive fair wages, safe and healthy work environments, and “real recognition for their talent,” according to the brand.
Joya Plastica, Santiago, Chile
This Chilean brand makes fun, colorful jewelry out of different types of low-density plastic wrap. Yes, plastic wrap!
The women-led ethical jewelry brand connects artisans in Kenya with the global market via mobile technology.
Casa Collab, Peru
Casa Collab collaborates with independent artisans from around its native Peru, “from the jungle to the highlands and the coastal areas,” according to the company.
Noonday Collection, Austin, Texas
Noonday partners with artisan businesses to create opportunities for women who are vulnerable, empowering them to earn a sustainable income and become leaders in their communities.
Me to WE, Toronto
Each Me to We bracelet is handmade by a woman in Kenya or Ecuador using artisanal skills passed down through generations.
The popular jewelry brand uses recycled precious metals to handcraft each piece, from start to finish, in its carbon-neutral Vancouver studio.
Designed and made in Guatemala, each piece of Wakami jewelry is handmade by women living in rural villages across the country; the brand provides jobs to women who typically “do not have the opportunity to dream or the support they need to grow,” according to the company.
Dogeared, Malibu, Calif.
The SoCal jewelry brand uses recycled gold and reclaimed gems in its everyday-luxe collections.
Fair Trade Jewellery Co., Toronto
Since its founding in 2006, this jewelry manufacturer has travelled the globe to build new, evidence-based supply chains for the materials it uses—it’s also focused on efforts that are likely to result in a more equitable distribution of value along the supply chain.
Top photo: Monica Rich Kosann opal jewelry (courtesy @monicarichkosann)