Diamonds That Help Pay Teachers’ Salaries in Africa?
So you’ve finally found the right partner, with shared values, goals and intentions. Now you need a ring. However there are so many issues beyond fit, design and clarity. The traditional diamond industry is awash with problems from exploitative auction houses to the influx of blood diamonds, which originate in war zones and finance more violence. Founded by three friends frustrated by the lack of options, The Clarity Project offers fairly sourced jewelry while channeling profits back into the mining community. A growing number of just diamonds are coming out of Australia and Canada. Unfortunately this does not help the many Africans who rely on the industry. By partnering with nonprofits, The Clarity Project has managed to create a win-win for everyone. You get a beautiful, just diamond to last a lifetime. The miners and their families have an improved life.
A mission statement isn’t enough for this B Corp. Pushing the concept further, they base their business on a core distinguishing value. Just accomplishing some good or doing “enough” is not an option. Instead, every decision comes down to one question: “What MOST improves these communities’ quality of life?” This policy has allowed The Clarity Project to discover and rediscover fair, artisanal mining cooperatives and sources and introduce them to a wider market. They are also changing how people think. Diamonds are no longer just luxury items. They can be a mechanisms to create real value and build a more sustainable, stronger future. Some tangible examples of change? Profits have helped provide teacher salaries in Sierra Leone and Lesotto, rehabilitate mining land and teach alternative skills that break the cycle of resource extraction.
With backgrounds in non-profits and anthropology, the three founders joined the B Community for the network of support. The likeminded B Corporations help answer practical and legal questions and negotiate the complex business environment. B Lab’s metrics and measures were also used as the standard while creating the Clarity Project. Certification symbolizes a dedication to running a forward thinking, progressive company. It also assures consumers they are making the best decision for this very emotional purchase.
The future is all about growth for the Clarity Project. They will be exploring new sources and working in larger quantities with their mining partners. Many of these cooperatives have been struggling for fairer systems for over 30 years. This B Corp is very excited to bring their market capabilities to these groups and get fairly traded stones to a growing number of consumers. More sales mean more opportunities to work with nonprofit partners. With a passion for infrastructure development and community empowerment, this corporation is doing big things. Also ahead: new ways to track gold and diamonds from mine to market. The Clarity Project is working with Transfair to develop fair trade standards for the industry. There is growing support for fairly sourced diamonds and this B Corp is at the forefront. We hope others follow their lead.
photo credit: The Clarity Project
by Katie Kerr, B-Lab