Dignity Coconuts plans to change lives one coconut at a time

·Contributor
·2 min read
The company was founded in 2007 after the co-founders attended a conference on global prostitution. Now, Dignity Coconuts is changing the lives of rural communities one coconut at a time. (Photo: Dignity Coconuts)
The company was founded in 2007 after the co-founders attended a conference on global prostitution. Now, Dignity Coconuts is changing the lives of rural communities one coconut at a time. (Photo: Dignity Coconuts)

Dignity Coconuts is trying to help change the lives of the poor and marginalized sectors in the Philippines one coconut at a time.

‘Combat poverty, modern-day slavery’

Founded in 2008 after the co-founders, Dr. Donald Byker and Stephen Freed, attended a conference on global prostitution in Wisconsin in the United States, Dignity Coconuts was a passion project to help communities get out of the cycle of poverty and modern-day slavery through a sustainable business that’ll bring lasting hope and change to its targeted communities.

“We were partnering with this community in the Philippines with over 70% unemployment rate … Instead of giving stock solutions, we asked and we listened. And they presented something valuable right in their own backyards – coconuts,” Freed said.

“They told us the surprising benefits of coconuts that just now the rest of the world is starting to realize … After four years of research and development, we’ve developed the most pure coconut oil because we use a process that doesn’t cook the oil preserving all of its raw nutritional benefits,” he added.

Partnering with local communities

The oil was extracted using a unique centrifuge and without a heat method, making the process organic and preserving its nutritional contents. Dignity’s Raw Virgin Coconut Oil sells 4 oz. and 15 oz. jars on their website and in select retailers, and in 2017, it came to larger supermarket chains.

“This gentle way to obtain the oil creates the best coconut oil on earth – a product that our staff can be proud to sell to the global market,” the company’s website said.

The company’s plant is located in Bicol and currently employs 90 local workers with plans to expand to up to 200 workers at full operation. 140 local farmers benefit from selling their coconut produce to the company, and it plans to expand to other remote areas in the Philippines and in Southeast Asia.

“Those are the places where our business can be a catalyst to improve issues like unemployment rates, cycles of sickness, personal finances, education, environment, business development, leadership, and water sanitation,” Dignity said.

The product, Dignity Coconut oil, is a good substitute for cooking, baking, frying, and sautéing, as well as a natural moisturizer for hair and skin.