Dr. Bronner’s (the company) has taken up residency in Sri Lanka.
Thanks to Dr. Bronner’s having a need for a reliable and more ethical source for coconut oil (an ingredient used in soap-making), Serendipol was born. This wasn’t a company pushing their way into a developing country. After the devastating 2004 tsunami that killed more than 30,000 in Sri Lanka, the country was trying to recover. During that same time, Dr. Bronner’s was trying to produce organic, virgin olive oil for its soaps. Serendipol became a mutually beneficial company to the Sri Lankan people and Dr. Bronner’s. Serendipol provides fair trade, organic virgin coconut oil while simultaneously benefiting the Sri Lankan farm workers, oil manufacturers, families, and communities who work with Serendipol (Dr. Bronner’s sister company).
“Serendipol has grown into a large coconut oil company that produces 2,600 metric tons of oil annually, made from coconuts grown by 1,200 farmers, and that number is set to double over the next two years. It has 300 employees who are paid a fair wage and given annual bonuses, medical leaves, and school costs for their children; they are provided with vocational and agricultural training. There is a community fund into which a fair trade premium is paid and, each year, some of this money is allocated toward home improvements for members of the community, as well as other larger-scale projects.” – TreeHugger.
Did you get that?
The company pays a fair wage to the farmers and workers, they receive annual bonuses, medical leave, they have a medical facility on site, and the children’s school costs/supplies are paid for (* school is paid for- their free education system was established in 1945. “It is one of the few countries in the world that provide universal free education from primary to tertiary stage.”-Wikipedia). They also provide the farmers and workers with vocational and agricultural training.
Please take the time to watch this short documentary on Serendipol and this Sri Lankan community. The stories are wonderful and it’s nice to see a company give back to those who could grow from it.
“… A feel-good success story that could hopefully be a model for other coconut oil producers and soap companies around the world. Something does need to change for the majority of Asian coconut growers, who are deeply frustrated by how little they make from what has become North America’s new darling commodity.
Buying fair trade is a way to ensure that farmworkers and those who work in the production facilities are paid fairly for the work they do. It is harder to source fair trade, organic coconut oil, since it is not available in most stores, but you can order directly from Dr. Bronner’s.” – TreeHugger.
Do you use Dr. Bronner’s Fair Trade & Organic Coconut Oil? Tried their soaps?
We love Dr. Bronner’s and I love this story. It was 8 minutes of feeling good about a company using a developing countries resource. Please take the time to read their press release and watch their video. Let me know what you think of both Dr. Bronner’s and Serendipol in the comments below.
Featured image courtesy Dr. Bronner’s.