In 2013, the Philippines was struck by Typhoon Haiyan, wiping out the majority of its leading agricultural product: coconut palm trees. Nearly 33 million trees were left in ruins, inflicting economic strife upon Philippine farming communities.
Will Lauder, the founder of Kapuluan Coconut, initially had the purpose of visiting the Philippines for a surf trip before hearing about the typhoon. Following the news of the devastation left behind from the storm, Lauder adjusted his itinerary and traveled to the Philippines to offer relief by delivering clean water to affected communities. It was this first-hand experience that led Lauder to create Kapuluan Coconut as an initiative to restore the mass desolation of coconut palms on the island through a “One for One” program.
Although Filipino farming communities are a globally dominant source of coconut oil production, farmers live under exploitative working conditions, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). Of the three million coconut farmers within the industry, 60% live in extreme poverty. The quality and production of coconut oil have been compromised through industrialization processes, inflicting a type of “modern slavery” for coconut farmers.
Recognizing the reality of the coconut farming industry, Lauder created Kapuluan Coconut in order to restore the Philippines’ source of coconut palms, enhance the sustainability of farming conditions for coconut farmers and offer a coconut product with the finest quality.
Lauder argues, “everyone supports Fair Trade coffee; what about coconut?” With this, he implemented the “One for One” program which plants a palm tree for every Kapuluan Coconut product sold. As a result, jobs will be created for sustainable coconut oil farming thus providing an increase in prices, income, and job opportunities for Filipino communities.
Kapuluan Coconut’s efforts are to restore the “tree of life” that drives Filipino agriculture and to give back to local Filipino community organizations, such as the Lingap Center. This past December, Kapuluan donated $5 per sale to the Lingap Center for children, which offers assistance for children that have suffered from abuse, abandonment, and exploitation.
By subscribing to the email list, users will instantly receive a 10% discount on their first purchase while simultaneously helping to plant their first coconut tree. Through his experience and initiative efforts to help improve Philippine farming communities, Lauder says, “true happiness is… how helpful you are to people and to the world.”
– Amy Williams