We're often asked about fair trade certification, and whether or not we have it. While we would love to achieve fair trade status, and receive the required certification, there are some difficulties with our current operations that prevent this from being achieved at present.
To receive fair trade certification, the entire production line must be fair trade certified. This means the coconuts themselves, must come from fair trade farms. As we predominantly work in Vietnam, this presents difficulties as there are only 3 fair trade farms in the entire country. We have investigated working with these farms, although due to the large scale that they operate - the way they open coconut shells, prevent us from being able to up-cycle them.
Instead, we choose to adhere to our own moral and ethical values, by working with a number of smaller family farms, where we pay farmers for them to sort and package the coconut shells into the sizes that we require. This ensures they receive an income from products that they otherwise would have to pay to dispose of - or burn themselves, which contributes unnecessary and methane emissions. This income makes a difference for these farmers, who are considered some of the poorest in the country, often earning the equivalent of $1 - $2 per day.
[Above] We collect coconut shells from farms that sort the shells into the sizes that we require.
When we collect our coconut shells, they then travel to our workshop, where we work with local craftspeople and artisans who are paid more than double fair trade standards - which is 30% more than regular incomes for similar jobs. Our team also receive food and drink throughout the day, and welcome regular breaks.
[Above] Our Founder Jake McKeon, pictured with some of our team and their children in Vietnam.
One of the wonderful things about our workshop, is that many of the artisans are family. This is desirable within the Vietnamese culture, as many workers must travel hours every day to get to their workplace, meaning less time is spent with family.
We are currently exploring the potential of achieving B Corp status. B Corps meet the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance, public transparency, and legal accountability, and aspire to use the power of markets to solve social and environmental problems.
If you have any questions about our operations, please feel free to email us here.