Coconut Bliss Launches Formal CSR Program to Empower Women and Reverse Climate Change

December 13th 2018

In September 2018, Coconut Bliss launched a formal corporate social responsibility project inspired by the book Drawdown. As a woman-led company, we were particularly inspired to work with women in our supply chain, leading to better lives for them and their families, but as importantly, to help reverse climate change. As Paul Hawken wrote in Drawdown, “Due to existing inequalities, women and girls are disproportionately vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, from disease to natural disaster. Enhancing the well-being of women and girls is pivotal to addressing climate change.”

We chose to focus our efforts in the province of Misamis Oriental in the Philippines, where we source an essential ingredient for our plant-based frozen desserts, organic coconut. In partnership with GlobalGiving and the Water, Agroforestry, Nutrition and Development Foundation (WAND), Coconut Bliss established a microloan program that supports women-led enterprises in the Philippines. We started the Coconut-Based Women Entrepreneurship Initiative by donating the first $20,000 and are promoting it with our business partners and customers.

The goal of this project is to improve the lives of women and their families by supporting their small businesses. Coconuts are harvested every 3 months and the lull in harvest season means the need to find other sources of income in order to sustain the local economy and food security. Donated funds will help them make and sell value-added products using the by-products created during coconut harvesting and processing. In addition to creating a sustainable revenue stream, these small businesses will make use of what had once been waste.

Since September, the Coconut-Based Women Entrepreneurship Initiative has launched in 5 villages in Misamis Oriental, whose main industry is coconut-based. Interviews were conducted with local women to determine what enterprises they would like to undertake. The list included: organic fertilizer production using coconut peat, production of spiced coconut vinegar from coconut water, production of organic coffee using corn and moringa, production of local chocolates from cacao, and vegetable gardening for home consumption and for the market. Funds were distributed to the entrepreneurs in October.

At the end of November, the WAND team started constructing a new Permaculture and Organic Fertilizer Production Center in the region. The center will serve the training needs of farmers in the area and other work related to the initiative. In the Women Smallholders section in Drawdown, proven solutions include improving “…women’s access to the training and resources they lack, provided with their specific needs in mind – microcredit in particular.”

Ultimately this project will have far reaching effects by improving the social and economic standing of 650 impoverished women and their families who are dependent on coconuts for their livelihood. The project will also showcase the various income possibilities that can be generated from coconut-based farming that has been previously overlooked. By giving women the resources to manage their lives instead of fighting for survival, they are helping not only themselves and their communities, but making a better day for the entire planet by drawing down CO2 and reversing climate change.

For further information about this project, please refer to the following links: