Here at Rubicon®, we are firm believers in using our purchasing power to make conscious consumer decisions to help brands that are helping others. In celebration of Juneteenth, Rubicon’s African American Affinity Group has curated a list of four eco-friendly and Black-owned businesses to support.
Iya Foods: North Aurora, Illinois
Nigerian-born-and-raised CEO of Iya Foods Toyin Kolawole began her journey to bring the flavors of her home country to the United States when she was just 23 years old. Iya’s tagline “let food be thy nourishment” speaks volumes about the mission and inspiration behind the brand to educate her community and protect the environment. The line boasts an incredibly expansive list of seasonings, mixes, and spices; with fan favorites like plantain flour, jollof rice seasonings, and pepper soup. Iya Foods is also known for its product line of edible flowers and flower powders, a staple in African cooking. For those unfamiliar with how to prepare these flavorful ingredients, the Iya Foods website is home to Toyin’s favorite African recipes.
Sustainability stands strong at the forefront of the business. The Iya production is energy-efficient, follows a strong and strict recycling policy, and focuses on locally grown and sustainability sourced ingredients. Kolawole and her team have created local jobs in their local Illinois community as well as fostered opportunities, relationships, and jobs in Africa.
Golde: Brooklyn, New York
Born out of a one-bedroom apartment in Brooklyn, Trinity Mouzon Wofford’s Golde has become the gold standard in self-care via superfoods. Golde is a natural and vegan line of environmentally conscious products ranging from turmeric latte blends to matcha face masks. Known for their detoxifying and anti-inflammatory properties, both matcha and turmeric are currently very much on trend for many major beauty brands. Golde is doing it differently with sustainable sourcing and a female founder that cares deeply about every product going out the door. At Golde, Their ingredient list is both organic and transparent. The “ceremonial grade” matcha is sourced from Japan and is certified radiation and heavy-metal free.
A goal of the business is to marry both inclusivity and accessibility in the wellness space, which has historically been gatekept by high price points. Wofford was pre-med at NYU before she launched Golde and used her background and holistic principles to self-fund and create products that were helping both people and the planet.
Hamilton Perkins Collection Bags: Norfolk, Virginia
In 2014, Hamilton Perkins founded the Hamilton Perkins Collection (HPC), an independent brand designing bags, apparel, backpacks, and accessories from recycled materials. The company boasts a line of sleek and modern styles of “Earth Bags” made from pineapple leaf fiber, plastic water bottles, and even old museum banners. It is because of these unique sustainable material sources that no two products in the line are identical. The mission behind the brand is inspiring; creating affordable and timeless products while simultaneously reducing waste, cutting carbon emissions, utilizing a sustainable and transparent supply chain, and conserving water.
Winning “Best for the World Overall” by B Corporation in 2017, Hamilton Perkins and his team are ushering in a new generation of style and sustainability. To help customers stay safe amidst the pandemic, HPC has also created double-layered face masks made from 100 percent recycled materials and adhering to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) safety guidelines.
Listen to Perkins himself tell his inspiring sustainability story on Rubicon’s Town Haul Podcast.
BLK and Bold: Des Moines, Iowa
Fellow B Corp BLK and Bold hold both their coffee beans and their community to a higher standard. They were honored with their certification in August of 2020 for the incredible outreach work they are doing to inspire and impact the lives of the next generation. Headquartered in Des Moines, Iowa, founders Pernell Cezar Jr, and Rod Johnson turned their passion for top-shelf tea and coffee into a purpose; a brand that gives back a portion of their profits to different organizations that provide care, employment, and guidance to at-risk and homeless youth around the country.
All of the great decisions the team is making also spill over into their supply chain, providing environmentally friendly business practices. BLK and Bold only launched in 2018, but have taken the specialty beverage world by storm in just a few short years. With lines of loose leaf teas and different blends of java, the BLK and Bold team has found themselves on the shelves of major retailers and the radars of major organizations.
Winners of the 2020 “Black Entrepreneur of the Year Award” by Official Black Wall Street, the brains behind BLK and Bold are doubling down on diversity, donations, and deliciousness with every sip.
To learn more about Rubicon’s work transforming the entire category of waste and recycling, be sure to download our inaugural Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) Report.
Editor’s Note: References made to businesses/companies in this post are not meant to convey affiliation with or endorsement of Rubicon by those companies in any way.
Irwin Anderson Jr is a Vendor Relations Associate and Co-Founder of the African American Affinity Group at Rubicon. To stay ahead of Rubicon’s announcements of new partnerships and collaborations around the world, be sure to follow us on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter, or contact us today.