The Clarity Project Founders Recognized as Sustainable Business Innovators for Work on Fair Diamonds
Here’s a press release about a social entrepreneurial initiative that is already garnering attention from organization outside of the jewelry sector. The focus is stated here:
“Shane, Rachel, and Jesse measure the progress of The Clarity Project by the number of children educated, crops planted, and health clinics opened, rather than solely relying on market share and profits.”
~ Marc Choyt, Publisher
SAN FRANCISCO, June 1, 2010 — The Clarity Project was selected as a finalist in the Sustainable Brands Innovation Open (SBIO) and will be presenting at Sustainable Brands ’10 on Monday, June 7th in Monterey, California. The SBIO competition is for early stage businesses and seeks to connect new innovative brands from today’s social and eco-entrepreneurs with leading brands and socially responsible investors.
The selection of The Clarity Project is the latest recognition of the creativity and leadership of its three young founders, Shane Rogers, Rachel Lichte, and Jesse Finfrock, and their efforts to harness the unique power of diamonds to improve the quality of life for miners and their communities.
The Clarity Project sells fine diamond jewelry of equal if not superior quality to that of top brands. With a focus on engagement rings and wedding bands, they offer Classic and Artisan styles, custom pieces, and are designing their first Clarity line. Beyond quality, The Clarity Project is unique among jewelry companies by making decisions based on what will most benefit small-scale miners, far outpacing the ineffectual norms of “Conflict Free” established by the Kimberley Process. The founders are committed to building a simple supply chain that ensures fair wages and safe, environmentally sound practices, and to investing the profits from these sales back into mining communities. By doing so, they hope to establish a more equitable exchange of value — in their eyes, a diamond ring is a vehicle for creating a better world, and many forward-thinking consumers are coming to share their vision.
What began a year ago as three childhood friends looking for a personal answer for jewelry, The Clarity Project has come to be recognized as an innovative model by academia and industry alike. In March, Shane was a featured panelist at the Duke Conference on Sustainable Business and Social Impact, and in April, Rachel was a panelist on social responsibility at the Global Social Venture Competition by UC Berkeley and Columbia Business School. Additionally, Jesse has authored numerous trade articles and represented The Clarity Project in the Madison Dialogues, an ongoing jewelry industry discussion group that is developing new standards for fairer diamonds, gems, and metals.
The Clarity Project’s progress stems from the founders’ unwavering commitment to their mission and the miners. Said Rachel, “Our mission is to improve the quality of life for miners and their families, and so every decision we make is based on what we believe will best achieve this.” For instance, they are proud supporters of a women’s diamond digging cooperative in Lesotho, Fair Trade Gold from Latin America, and Fair Made manufacturing in South Africa.
The founders’ honesty and openness is not just critical to fair sourcing, but is key to The Clarity Project’s relationship building, outreach, and sales. As a boutique company, the founders work directly with every customer to inform them of the sources of the diamonds, gems, and metals, as well as the cutting, polishing, and manufacturing of their jewelry. This process allows consumers to make the most informed decisions about their rings and evaluate the impact of their purchases. The founders are also transparent about how The Clarity Project creates impact through the investment of their profits and is launching a quarterly report card detailing their investments and impact.
Ultimately, Shane, Rachel, and Jesse measure the progress of The Clarity Project by the number of children educated, crops planted, and health clinics opened, rather than solely relying on market share and profits. In 2009, the year The Clarity Project began, they were able to procure enough sales to pay for teachers’ salaries at the Muddy Lotus Elementary School in Bongema, Sierra Leone. Considering it costs just $8 a month to send a child to school in Sierra Leone, The Clarity Project’s diamond jewelry can have an enormous impact. This year they hope to contribute to several creative environmental and microfinance programs and partner with new organizations in South Africa.
The selection of The Clarity Project for SBIO is recognition of the founders’ innovative entrepreneurial spirit and the immense potential of their work. Shane notes, “While we are just getting started, The Clarity Project will support many communities for many years, and hopefully serve as a model for new socially responsible businesses.” Together with their loyal and growing customer base, Shane, Rachel, and Jesse are working hard to improve the quality of life for miners and their families while creating a new type of business that can drive positive, long-term change for a sustainable future. The potential is stunning.
Follow The Clarity Project’s progress and stay updated on the Sustainable Brands Innovation Open: facebook.com/clarityproject | twitter.com/clarityproject.
The Clarity Project is a fine jewelry social enterprise committed to improving the quality of life for miners and their families. The Clarity Project sources only fair diamonds, gems, and precious metals, and invests all net profits back into mining communities. (www.the-clarity-project.com)
Email: info at the-clarity-project.com
Sustainable Brands Innovation Open