In April 2020 Bird Eyewear became the first UK eyewear company to become a certified B Corp, in recognition of their outstanding commitment to sustainable and ethical business.
Bird makes beautiful, design-led eyewear using high quality and sustainable materials, and for every pair sold they distribute solar light to remote communities in Africa through their Share Your Sun partnership with SolarAid.
Certified B Corporations are businesses that balance purpose and profit, and are committed to prioritising the environment and society in the way they do business. They are legally required to consider the impact of their decisions on their workers, customers, suppliers, community, and the environment. The rigorous certification process is third party verified. There are currently over 2,500 Certified B Corporations in more than 50 countries. Bird is one of only three eyewear brands in the world
[perfectpullquote align=”left” bordertop=”false” cite=”Founder Ed Bird” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=”17″]For us, B Corp Certification is a stamp of approval from a trusted source. The demanding application process was an opportunity to re-examine the business we’re creating and hold it up against the gold standards of ethical business.
We’re delighted to have achieved B-Corp status and will continue to build on this firm foundation as we grow. It’s great to be part of a global movement of companies using business as a force for good.[/perfectpullquote]
Bird was launched in March 2017 by three brothers from Devon who share a love of design and adventure. They founded the business to combine their skills in creativity, business and social purpose, and have built in a commitment to people and planet to every part of their business. Whilst still in their first trading year Bird was valued at over £1million and received investment from Worth Capital in 2020.
Bird aim to drive change in the eyewear industry by designing beautiful frames that both look good and do good. In contrast to most eyewear companies, which use cheaper plastic injection moulded frames, which are produced cheaply and contribute to a fast fashion, throwaway culture, Bird’s premium frames use materials including FSC certified wood, bio-based acetate and repurposed aerospace aluminium. “We put the utmost care and attention into every aspect of our products. We want to create eyewear that people love to wear and own – pieces to treasure, not trash. Our ethos is slow fashion.”
For Bird, committing to sustainability does not mean compromising on design. In 2019, Bird won Frame of the Year with their Blackcap frame at the Opticians Awards, beating huge international competition, and they’ve been nominated for Frame of the Year again in 2020.
Certified B Corporations are businesses that meet the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance, public transparency, and legal accountability to balance profit and purpose. B Corps are accelerating a global culture shift to redefine success in business and build a more inclusive and sustainable economy.
Society’s most challenging problems cannot be solved by government and non-profits alone. The B Corp community works toward reduced inequality, lower levels of poverty, a healthier environment, stronger communities, and the creation of high-quality jobs with dignity and purpose. By harnessing the power of business, B Corps use profits and growth as a means to a greater end: positive impact for their employees, communities, and the environment.
Bird’s Share Your Sun partnership is more than a token corporate responsibility afterthought. After hearing about SolarAid’s work and excellent track record, Ed Bird knew they would be the perfect organisation to develop a long-term partnership, with common values and goals. The Share Your Sun partnership harnesses the undeniable cultural associations between sunglasses, sunshine, and feeling good, to inspire customers about the power of solar energy to make a difference in poorer communities.
With each pair of Bird frames purchased, families in Africa benefit from solar light. These solar lamps replace the standard kerosene lamps that are in most households. By eliminating dirty kerosene lamps, families benefit from better health, leading to better mental wellbeing, fewer hours of work, and school missed and enabling people to be more productive, as well as saving CO2.
[perfectpullquote align=”full” bordertop=”false” cite=”Ed Bird” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=”17″]Looking good is one thing – but doing good is so much more important. Share Your Sun is a way to connect with the bigger picture and contribute to a more sustainable world. That’s the power of #shareyoursun.[/perfectpullquote]
THE B CORP DECLARATION OF INTERDEPENDENCE
“We envision a global economy that uses business as a force for good.
This economy is comprised of a new type of corporation – the B Corporation –
Which is purpose-driven and creates benefit for all stakeholders, not just shareholders.
As B Corporations and leaders of this emerging economy, we believe:
That we must be the change we seek in the world.
That all business ought to be conducted as if people and place mattered.
That, through their products, practices, and profits, businesses should aspire to do no harm and benefit all.
To do so requires that we act with the understanding that we are each dependent upon another and thus responsible for each other and future generations.”
Free press release: Bird Eyewear