Today Isabel Garretón was recognized for creating the most positive overall community impact by B the Change Media based on an independent, comprehensive assessment administered by the independent nonprofit B Lab. Honorees are featured in the upcoming fall issue of B Magazine and on B the Change’s digital platform, bthechange.com. They were also honored at the first-annual Best for the World Celebration & Awards Ceremony at the University of California, Berkeley’s Haas Business School.
We are honored in the Best for Community list, which includes businesses that earned a Community score in the top 10 percent of more than 1,800 Certified B Corporations on the B Impact Assessment. The full assessment measures a company's impact on its workers, community, customers and the environment. The 141 winning companies in the Community category come from 18 industries and 24 countries.
The Community portion of the B Impact Assessment evaluates a company’s supplier relations, diversity, and involvement in the local community. It also measures the company’s practices and policies around community service and charitable giving, including whether a company’s product or service is designed to solve a social issue, such as access to basic services, health, education, economic opportunity and the arts. Honorees scoring in the top 10 percent set a gold standard for the high impact that business as a force for good can make on communities around the world.
The 141 Best for Community companies come from over 120 different industries such as manufacturing, financial services and engineering. B the Change Media simultaneously released separate lists recognizing B Corporations as Best for the World (overall impact), Best for the Environment, Best for Customers and Best for Workers, which can be found at http://best.bthechange.com.
More than 25 years ago Isabel Garretón dreamed of finding a way to make a difference in the world. She thought of the women of her native Chile, talented artisans, who, despite their incredible hand embroidery, hand smocking and dressmaking skills, did not have the ability to make a decent living and, therefore, sufficiently provide and care for their children. With her passion for sketching dresses and their skillset, Ms. Garretón was certain she could expand the market for these beautiful dresses beyond Chile and, as a result, dramatically improve the lives of these women and their families.
Working with a group of 21 underprivileged women, she designed a small collection of exquisitely appointed, hand-embroidered dresses and brought them back to the United States to gauge interest. This was the launch of Isabel Garretón children’s clothing. A sought-after luxury brand, today Isabel Garretón can be found in the finest department and specialty stores in the country, from Saks Fifth Avenue to Barneys New York to Bergdorf Goodman, as well as fine children’s clothing boutiques worldwide.
Isabel Garretón did more than start an apparel company in Chile, Bordechi, Ltda., to support the demand the brand was generating in the USA; she pioneered the concept of social enterprise in Chile and the U.S. children’s apparel industry.
Isabel recognized the talents of these Chilean women, enabled them to work from home while caring for their children, and paid them fair wages for their work. She empowered them to create a better life for themselves and their children by bringing opportunity to their doorsteps. The result: Ms. Garretón not only created an important role for women in her traditionally male-dominated country, she also helped break the cycle of poverty that has plagued women for generations.
Today, Ms. Garretón continues to seek out skilled artisans who can sew, embroider, crochet and produce some of the world’s last true hand smocking. She discovers authentic folk art in remote corners of the country and finds a way to incorporate it into her designs, enabling artisans who had lived in poverty to literally put new roofs on their homes and educate their children. This is the hallmark of her social enterprise and her commitment to addressing the basic need for these artisans to earn a living, while paying homage to the traditions that hold their communities together.
Ms. Garreton’s talent for designing contemporary children’s fashions that combine artisan skills with classic styling and the use of noble materials such as cotton and silk, as well as more modern materials for a different affect altogether, has set a new standard for ethically produced luxury children’s clothing in the U.S.
The enduring appeal of her timeless designs and the unsurpassed quality of their construction has earned Isabel Garretón a place in numerous children’s fashion magazines over the years, including Parents, Vogue, Vanity Fair, Victoria, Babiekins, Martha Stewart Weddings, Brides, Town & Country and Bambini Collezioni..
“The companies we are honoring as the best for the world represent the cutting edge of a global movement using business as a force for good. We are inspired by them, and feel deeply honored to join them in this historic and ground-breaking celebration,” said Bryan Welch, CEO of B the Change Media, the multiplatform media company that publishes the quarterly B Magazine and host of the Best for the World event at the University of California, Berkeley on September 8, 2016.
A total of 515 Certified B Corporations were named 2016 Best For the World Honorees, including: The Honest Company; Cooperative Home Care Associates; and Traditional Medicinals. Thirty-five countries are represented, including Afghanistan, Kenya, Vietnam, and Turkey. The selection criteria for Best for the World honorees are available at http://bit.ly/29ZYRSp.
The 2016 Best for the World Honorees represent nearly one-third of all B Corps, displaying a wide range of excellence throughout the community. Today there are more than 1,800 Certified B Corporations across over 120 industries and 42 countries, unified by one common goal: to redefine success in business. Any company can measure and manage social and environmental performance at http://bimpactassessment.net.