The Spanish B Corp operating in the eyewear industry is supporting low-income communities in Paraguay by financing education programs.
Parafina is a Spanish social business that chose to give such an everyday object as eyewear the power to create a positive impact on the planet and people. It all started in 2014 when founders Samuel Soria and Alfonso de Luján befriended children in a village in Paraguay and found that it was very difficult for them to get access to education. Wanting to support, they created Parafina, a company that would finance education programs with every pair of eyewear sold, made from recycled and organic materials.
Parafina is committed to supporting and empowering communities and believes in education as a key to a better future. The B Corp donates 5% of its sales to scholarships for children in Paraguay.
In addition to their social commitment, the company practices upcycling – from waste to solution – giving a second life to recycled materials such as PET plastic, rubber tires, or soda cans with their eyewear.
Parafina’s B Corp journey dates back to 2018 when the company came across the B Corp certification as they were looking for a holistic framework that could assess not only the impact of their products but also the processes they were carrying out. They wanted to show the world that their business was not just any company but a company with purpose. Being a start-up, the team of Parafina initially expected the process of becoming a B Corp to be a hard and long way, as the company lacked most processes bigger companies had in place. “Lots of people were telling us it took them 2-3 years”, said Samuel Soria, CEO at Parafina. But after 10 months of hard work – establishing and writing down internal procedures, fulfilling the legal requirements, and assessing production processes from factories to landfills – the company completed the process and became a Certified B Corporation in 2019.
In 2022, Parafina was recognized for Best For The World™ in the Community category. These B Corps are top performers in contributing to the economic and social well-being of the communities in which they operate. Through their exemplary practices and policies directed at community impact, they’re building a shared and sustainable prosperity for all. Their mission-driven cultures embrace supplier relations, social engagement, charitable giving, and strong, diverse communities. Find out more about Best For The World™ here.
With PARAFINA Social Project, the B Corp promotes education as the transforming axis of society and the future of our planet. The project was called to life in 2014 in the neighborhood of Fatima, in Asuncion, Paraguay, one of the poorest countries in Latin America, providing school scholarships for children with lower economic resources. Since the beginning, Parafina has funded 485 school scholarships, covering the full monthly school fees, school supplies, and inscription fees. In addition, the children receive access to free school meals and health assistance. But most importantly, the project provides them with a safe space to play, develop, and have a better future. PARAFINA Social Project is financed by 5% of Parafina’s product sales.
Since 2019, Parafina is also funding a Students Support Project, which had been developed in response to the needs of a large group of students to have extra support for academic difficulties or psychological or behavioral problems in addition to providing specialized support to the school’s teaching staff. The team who is realizing the project is composed of a psychologist, a psychopedagogist, and a teacher. Between the three of them, they are currently providing group or individual therapy to 275 children.
In January 2022, the Spanish B Corp launched a new Brand called CICLO with the same DNA as PARAFINA but targeting the pharmacy channels. The company also donates 5% of the generated sales to finance the “CICLO Social Project” also in Paraguay. Through this project, CICLO supports good students who have limited resources to access the university. “In this way, we promote education not only from an early age but also reward the efforts and interest of students to be trained at university in order to have a professional future that will undoubtedly also have an impact on the students’ community.”, says Samuel Soria, CEO at Parafina.
As a small B Corp-certified social business, Parafina has learned some valuable lessons.
Keep it simple. Don’t try to do many things at once. Initially, they used too many materials for their sunglasses, worked with too many suppliers, and considered too many certifications, which were too complex to manage.
Be consistent with your brand message and proposal. Always ask yourselves if what you are about to do or create is aligned with your brand values and personality. This way you will assure a long-term future for your brand.
Try and try and don’t be afraid to be wrong. Most of the time, the first and second ideas are not the good ones.