In world full of big brands, social enterprises are a breath of fresh air. As a blog centered on fair and just labor practices, it is important to acknowledge that this very topic is the reason some brands exist. Not only do they have just labor practices, they exist to bring life to the workers no matter what the product is.

Social enterprises are a good way to put your money towards buying products already on your lists in a way that is directly supporting those living in poverty and staggering inequality.

Dignity Coconuts is a simple social enterprise doing just this by selling raw, pure, zero-waste, organic coconut oil. Coconut oil is used for cooking and the home, but it is also an incredible beauty product that is much more environmentally sustainable. Yes, we want to support ethical beauty products as well with this blog!

So, how can coconuts bring human dignity? The founders of Dignity Coconuts didn’t start because they really loved coconuts and coconut oil. With many people living in poverty in the Philippines, the founders asked the people there how they could help bring equality in the exchange of wealth in the world, and they said that their biggest asset in this was coconuts.

Coconuts it was. Now, the community is using their natural assets in a way that is giving the community sustainable jobs. They also contribute to environmental sustainability by using 100% of the coconut, not just the oil, so there is zero waste involved.

There’s not really a catchy gimmick – like buying a jar sends a child to school. However, buying coconut oil from Dignity Coconuts rather than a grocery store like non-transparent Trader Joes is a wonderful way to be involved and supportive of developing economies. The cool thing is that coconut oil is getting more and more popular and mainstream today. Dignity Coconuts is entering into the market in a powerful and timely way regarding their concern for social justice and the demand for the precious oil.

Not only is it a tangible way to support, but it is also a tangible way to see transformation in labor rights. Not only are jobs being created that didn’t exist before, but jobs are being created AND sustained on the premises of human dignity and justice. Fair wages, good conditions, and community development gather around an asset that God has given the Philippines: coconuts. This means that people don’t have to travel to the big city to get a job in a factory with unjust practices; they can stay in their hometown with their family and friends and hold a sustainable, life-bringing job. It is the best of both worlds when a human being doesn’t have to sacrifice their family and community to make a living. This is something that we value in our lives here in the USA, and we can value it abroad with the power of our dollars. It also brings together the network of business people seeking justice. Often, other nonprofits help social enterprises get on their feet, like the Christian micro finance nonprofit Partners Worldwide did for Dignity Coconuts by investing in them and mentoring them in early stages.

What could happen if companies founded on the idea of fair labor rights became the leading choice for products? What if this model was the standard? What if we supported one another in this? We wouldn’t have to worry about whether our money is bringing life or death to another person or community. Social enterprises aren’t the only solution to global inequality. But they do challenge us to envision a world where products and companies make fairness for everyone involved in production a priority. I can imagine it would look a lot like more sustainability, more equality, more wholeness, more restoration.

Just for fun, because we like to focus on researching companies who produce a product, we thought it would be good to highlight some beauty uses of coconut oil to bring it all together. It really is an awesome product we use all the time. Even before we knew of Dignity Coconuts, we used coconut oil as a staple beauty product and healthy cooking oil. That’s why it’s so great to have a ethical company to buy a product from that we already use all the time.

Without further ado, here’s some of our favorite beauty uses of coconut oil:

  • Make-up remover (this is also very cost effective because a little goes a long way.)
  • Night time moisturizer
  • Cuticle treatment
  • Shave oil
  • After-shaving moisturizer
  • After-sun moisturizer
  • Hair mask (roots to tips)
  • Lip treatment
  • Under-eye bags or dryness
  • Hair-flyaway tamer after drying
  • Mix with baking soda for teeth whitening

Written by: Madeleine Williams