Aceh Sumatra —the last place on earth where orangutan, rhino, elephants and tigers co-exist and where turtles nest every night of the year. Held in our collective minds since the devastating 2006 Boxing Day Tsunami, this is one of most important wild places left on Earth. Nature lovers with our roots sunk deep in Sumatra, we see wildlife disappearing and palm oil and coffee plantations expanding. Rainforest is going up in smoke and livelihoods are destroyed by floods and polluted waterways.
In the heat of the global financial crisis and with climate change negotiations stalling, the world had buried its head. Business needed a new paradigm with wider metrics for ‘success’. We needed a truly sustainable business that would address the core causes of environmental catastrophe.
We founded āluān.
We don’t fit within an existing framework. We know that care and kindness are fundamental and that true progress will be made by bringing together all three pillars of sustainability - Social. Environmental. Economic.
We value progress over perfection. Our ability to create jobs and improve agricultural productivity gives us a seat at the economic decision-making table and a voice in land-use decisions. This is the space where environmental and social concerns face-up with economic ones.
Our presence on the ground has influenced positive changes in land use, including stopping the draining of peat swamp forest (a massive carbon emitter) proposed by a palm oil company.
It’s an impact that is harder to measure, but critical.
Coconuts in Indonesia are grown by independent farmers, where most other commodities are driven by conglomerates. Palm oil businesses can access bank finance by using their large landholdings and factories as collateral. Smallholder farmers can’t - they don’t benefit from economies of scale.
We have supported over 500 farmers to form collectives. We know each farmer by name, map land boundaries together, and share knowledge and stories.
Farmer collectives are the centre point for improved agricultural productivity, education and financial services. Families who once never had a bank account will have greater opportunities for improving their family’s wellbeing and have a safety net in times of crisis.
We are a community. We care for each other - the people who make up āluān, everyone along our supply chain and everyone we interact with.
We are a women led business. We intimately understand the difference we can make by removing the unique barriers that both women and men face and support individuals to access opportunities with this in mind.
When life circumstances change we shouldn’t be forced to give up work in order to care for loved ones. We do our best to accomodate both women and men with flexible work.
Around 90% of coconut trees in Asia are reaching the end of their productive lifecycle. Ageing trees are a huge risk for communities who rely on coconuts for a living. Without funds to replant, farmers are trapped in a cycle of vulnerability.
Working closely with farmers we’re establishing seedling nurseries and replanting coconut trees on 6000ha of existing plantations and degraded, unproductive land areas.
Whether it’s skincare products, clothing, or the food on our plate, most of our consumption is impossible to trace.
By weaving ourselves through our supply chain we follow the story of each coconut from tree to you. There is a direct line of connection from final product back to the origin and the the community of farmers each coconut comes from.
Coconut plantations are not immune from causing negative environmental impact. We use GPS mapping and satellite technology to gain a birds-eye-view of all plantations, monitoring land boundaries to make sure we play no part in primary rainforest destruction.
Biodiversity is Earth’s life support system - but right now it is way out of balance. Thirteen million hectares of forest is being lost each year and polluted oceans are overfished. Nature is normally best without interference, but right now it is in desperate need of our help.
Conservation and āluān are inseparable. We partner with Sumatran conservation organisation Forest, Nature & Environment Aceh - HAkA. to protect island habitats and to support government ranger programmes for critically endangered turtles. The Founder of HAkA is both our Conservation Advisor and Indonesian company Director.
We are supporting work to prevent the imminent extinction of Asian Songbirds. Rehabilitation centres and predator free islands offer some of the last hope for birds like the Nias Hill Myna and the White-rumped Shama.
We have founded the Ecosystem Impact Foundation and a sustainability ‘School’ to lead on conservation and bring people together for the purposes of learning, sharing, partnership and growth.
Organic Certification has more meaning than simply avoiding chemicals. Annual audits of our farms and production houses is a third-party guarantee of our care for endangered wildlife, soil health, and that workers receive proper health and safety protection.
Organic farming means no GMOs, synthetic fertilisers, herbicides, pesticides or insecticides and ensures that no harmful cleaning products enter waterways.
With Control Union Certifications we have certified 3370ha of coconut farms as 100% organic compliant. This is internationally recognised by USDA, JAS and EU standards.