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Company overview

Our business was born out of a conviction to help communities overcome cycles of poverty and slavery. Not with a handout, but with a sustainable business that will bring lasting hope and change to communities. How? We make the most pure and delicious virgin coconut oil a jar can hold. Coconut oil possess amazing health benefits and we will use 100% of this "superfood" with no waste left behind. Our RAW Virgin Coconut Oil is extracted with a unique centrifuge and no heat method, keeping everything intact and unrefined so you get the best product. 

OUR PRODUCT

RAW Virgin Coconut Oil

Our product is “RAW” - never cooked or processed. Our unique method keeps the oil cool in order to retain every bit of healthy goodness. Other production methods take the oil through a rough process, cooking the oil at high temperatures and often using chemicals to separate the oil. This begins breaking down the nutrients months before you can even open their jar of oil.

Our Virgin Coconut Oil is centrifuge extracted. We don't heat it. We don't refine it. We spin it. That's right. We fling that water and moisture out so that you are left with the most pure and delicious virgin coconut oil a jar can hold.

ORGANIC

We are located in a pristine remote area, where our coconuts have always been free of pesticides and other harmful chemicals. Nevertheless, our farmers are trained and certified in Organic farming methods, helping them farm better and smarter. We are also Kosher certified.

USES

There are over 100 uses for coconut oil. Really! Coconut Oil is great for cooking, baking, frying & sautéing needs. Substitute coconut oil where recipes call for butter or vegetable oil and taste the difference. Plus, coconut oil is an excellent natural moisturizer for your skin and hair.

Current StorIEs

1. SUCCESSFUL RETAIL LAUNCH IN 2017

After beginning sales during the holiday season of 2016, Dignity has entered retail in 2017 in a big way. Already in over 1,000 stores in the Midwest and Mid-Atlantic, Dignity has seen a great receptivity to its product and story. Dignity can be found in large chains such as Meijer, Stop & Shop, Giant and Martins. Read more in the press release here above.

2. A DIFFERENT WAY TO DO BUSINESS

Because of our team's background in non-profit and social justice work, we are keenly aware of the needs around the globe. The UN states that over 1.5 billion people in the world are living on less than $1.25 a day(1). This is not enough to take care of food, health, housing, education and safety, denying them the freedom of choice. That is not ok with us. The cycle of poverty that is created by desperate decisions and patterns of debt must end.

Our answer is business. Not just any business — a new way to do business. The wave of micro-lending and micro-enterprise are not changing the equation of the poor selling to the poor. We are bringing access to the global export market to unexpected areas. We are out there and off the beaten path. Our goal is to see modern-day slavery and abject poverty abolished. We realize that the only vehicle for change that would have the capacity to overcome such distressing odds is a new kind of for-profit business.

We reached out to communities in the poorest areas of the world, starting with the connections we have to the rural Philippines. We asked questions first. Most importantly, what sustainable resources could the locals offer to help us fight poverty together? It quickly became clear that coconuts were the answer. So we went to a logistically messy place, a hard place, a place being ignored and built a coconut processing plant.

At full operation we will create jobs for over 200 men and women at the plant and over 300 coconut farmers. Including their families, we will be directly impacting the livelihood of over 2,000 people in the Philippines. We helped bring jobs, roads, and clean water to this small village. Beyond that, we're doing holistic community development. We are training our communities to grow better crops, organize resources, save for the future and get healthier. We are seeing families back together because they no longer have to separate to find work. We are helping farmers overcome cycles of debt.

It's not going to stop here. We have structured our business model to be reproducible. We plan for 25 more plants across the tropics. There are plenty of coconuts to harvest out there! And this model won't be confined to coconuts. We will go to the ends of the earth to build businesses based on local resources. We want to restore dignity where it can be hard to find. Dignity is going to change the world.

Biographies

Stephen Freed, CEO & Co-founder of Dignity Coconuts

Raised near New York City, he finished his BA at Gordon College. Stephen served as the CEO and President of International Teams (IT) from 1996-2005, and as International Director from 2005-2009, leading over a 1,000 staff in 61 countries. In 2009-2010, Stephen transitioned from International Director to establish missional business enterprises full time, beginning with Dignity.  Stephen, with his wife and Australian Shepherd, reside near Chicago, USA.

 

Dr. Don Byker, Chairman & Co-founder of Dignity Coconuts

Raised near Holland, MI, Don graduated from Calvin College, AB, 1957, University of Michigan, MA 1966, and PhD, 1969. Don taught for 4 years at Calvin College, 2 years at University of Michigan, 9 years at Harvard College, and 2 years at Harvard Business School and then moved to consulting. In 1990, Don co-founded Affinity Industries, Inc, a temperature control business. After selling the company in 2001, he began volunteering full-time for Habitat for Humanity and International Teams. In 2009, Don partnered with Stephen to found Dignity. Don passed away in 2016. His widow resides in New Hampshire, USA. 

 

Erik Olson, Vice President of Dignity Coconuts

Raised near Minneapolis, MN, Erik started his business career at age 18 owning a branch of Student Works Painting in order to pay for tuition and provide summer jobs for his friends. He has his degree in Business Administration from Azusa Pacific University. After a year of humanitarian work in war-torn Iraq (2003-2004), Erik joined the non-profit International Teams, helping community development teams in Africa, Middle East and Asia. In 2012, Erik joined Stephen, his father-in-law, in starting Dignity. Erik currently resides near Chicago, USA with his wife and two children adopted from Ethiopia.

Contact information

Erik Olson
Vice President
Dignity Coconuts
info@dignitycoconuts.com