On one of John Hardy’s new bamboo-inspired cuffs, a simple set of squares ring the band for all the world to see on the recycled silver, couture bracelet. Inside, however, on the back grill, the jewelry boasts a secret story worn next to the skin:
26 bamboo trees will be planted on the island of Nusa Penida when you buy this sterling silver Bamboo Wide Kick cuff. The text weaves among a scene of Nusa Penida, the Balinese island near where John Hardy’s workshop produces the eco-friendly jewelry.
Several years ago, the company became concerned that Nusa Penida was losing important resources: the endangered Balinese Sterling and the people who live and work on the island. As the bamboo began to disappear, John Hardy decided to do something for the community that had gifted them with such prosperity. The company began donating bamboo seedlings to farming cooperatives to offset print advertising—they planted a twenty-football-field-sized farm. Senior vice president Lionel Geneste says of the endeavor, “We were thrilled to be able to off-set our carbon use, but to replant the island and keep the people there and create jobs…that was so important to us.”
“We also try to teach the people who work with us to be more green and eco-friendly,” continues Geneste, speaking of their corporate culture. From using recycled silver to cyanide-free gold, John Hardy’s practices are all mindful of the planet.
It’s hard for Geneste to point to a single sustainable practice among a business molded entirely by the desire to limit a carbon footprint. Little things, such as using video conference calls each week to connect the Hong Kong, New York, and Bali offices rather than fly employees around the world, stick out to him. Or perhaps using wooden, resin free packaging for their products. Then there is the design of their workshop to take advantage of natural breezes and sunlight by using glass and bamboo panels to cool the workers rather than an air conditioning system. “Even our Hong Kong offices maximize glass to capture daylight,” says Geneste, “and we don’t paint the walls or use chemicals that way. We try to be as green as we can in every aspect of our company.”
Farming culture permeates production at John Hardy, where an on-site organic farm (complete with chemical free produce and pastured cows) feeds lunch to the 800 workers each day and serves as a learning center to teach workers sustainable agriculture techniques. Flora also makes its way into the company’s products, which draw inspiration from the earth. This fall’s Bamboo collection, for example, continues to offset deforestation. Each piece is imprinted with the number of seedlings the company plants. Many of the pieces, captured in delicate thin silver or gold with diamond accents on the leaves, resemble the plants themselves.
Such mindfulness does not go unnoticed, either. This December, The Financial Times honored the company in a Hong Kong ceremony as one of the top three green businesses on the planet .
By Katy Rank Lev