Protecting Natural Resources
At The Vita Coco Company, we believe that protecting natural resources is integral to promoting sustainable ecosystems and resilient communities. We have begun implementing responsible and sustainable practices throughout our operations and supply chain to help protect natural resources, and we will continue to refine and improve these practices. One of our key focuses is regenerative agriculture. By helping educate farmers in implementing regenerative farming techniques, they can improve soil health, sequester carbon, and promote biodiversity.
Our coconut-based products are derived from nature, which makes it even more crucial for us to conserve and replenish the resources we extract from the planet. As a business, we are focused on the impact of our environmental footprint at each point of our value chain. We have identified the key environmental opportunities to protect our natural resources, including:
- Supporting sustainable and regenerative agricultural practices,
- Reducing energy consumption and our climate footprint,
- Conserving and replenishing the water we use in our operations process, and
- Creating responsible packaging while reducing waste.
As an organization, we invest in measuring our carbon impact and product lifecycle, optimizing energy consumption in our operations, and promoting circularity in sourcing, production, and disposal.
At The Vita Coco Company, we understand the importance of the principles of regenerative agriculture in restoring and revitalizing our natural ecosystems. Our approach to regenerative agriculture includes our growers, who are fundamental to our business, and we strive to support their communities at the same time.
In collaboration with our suppliers, non-profit partners, and growers, we have supported suppliers’ and farmers’ efforts to replant aging trees and enhance the overall biodiversity of the local ecosystem that we source from, while also empowering farmers and their economic livelihood.
Since we created the Vita Coco Project® in 2014, we have partnered with non-profit organizations around the world, from the Philippines to Brazil, to support and empower our coconut farming communities. Through initiatives like farmer training, we help encourage regenerative farming practices that protect biodiversity and enhance soil health quality on coconut farms.
We support our partners, like HOPE and the Silvermill Foundation, with their on-the-ground impact initiatives in our growing communities, which include producing demonstration plots in our local growing regions to teach our farmers efficient growing practices.
Here are some of the initiatives currently under way to help farmers continue to preserve the long-term sustainability and quality of their land:
- Composting and Organic Fertilizer Programs: Through educational programs, farmers receive guidance on implementing composting and organic fertilizer programs to enrich the soil naturally and reduce the need for synthetic fertilizer.
- Crop Management Workshops: Workshops help equip farmers with advanced crop management techniques, such as intercropping, helping them optimize yields, diversify income sources, and minimize environmental impact.
- Water and Soil Conservation Programs: Through learning natural resource conservation practices, such as using drip irrigation and growing cover crops, farmers can reduce their vulnerability to extreme weather and erosion.
- Training Courses on Natural Pollinators: Bees and other natural pollinators are vital for crop health, and through our partners’ trainings, farmers learn about the importance of pollinators and how to create pollinator-friendly environments.
Because our coconuts are grown in various regions with different conditions, factors like weather and soil type can affect coconut production. We recognize the importance of helping farmers plant a diverse array of coconut tree varieties suitable to their farming environments, ensuring a steady supply of coconut harvesting over time, while also withstanding the challenges of climate change.
Through our partnership with HOPE and their microbreeding program initiative, we are helping develop a pilot farm to teach farmers the best breeding practices to grow hybrid seedlings. These hybrids combine the desirable traits of different coconut tree varieties, such as quicker coconut cultivation and stronger resilience to extreme weather conditions. This is also how we help address aging coconut trees and promote the overall biodiversity of the local ecosystem that we source from.
During the growing process, the seedlings are nurtured until they reach a certain size and are then pulled out and distributed to the farmers.
Coconut farmer and seedling supplier Ramon Araneta has planted 910 coconut trees on his five hectares of farmland using new and improved planting methods that he also teaches other farmers to implement.
Coconuts ripen on the trees—a close-up into the growing process.
In April 2023, we announced our Seedlings for Sustainability™ initiative to help distribute and facilitate the planting of up to 10 million seedlings and trees across the globe by 2030. We recognize the significance of responsible land management and are dedicated to offering resources to support coconut farming areas, the local communities of our consumers, and forests.
To address the aging coconut tree population and build a resilient supply chain, we collaborate with our on-the-ground partners, like HOPE and the Silvermill Foundation, to distribute seedlings. This effort aims to cultivate a future generation of high-quality nut-producing trees, benefiting both coconut growers and the industry at large.
We also facilitate the distribution of a diverse range of seeds and seedlings to promote intercropping. This process involves cultivating agricultural crops that complement coconut trees, such as cacao, bananas, coffee, vanilla, and other tropical vegetation. Intercropping can help boost the economic potential for farmers while replenishing soil nutrients and reducing the growers’ reliance on added fertilizers.
A view from above trees in the Philippines, many of which are coconut trees. The Philippines is home to many of our primary coconut growing communities.
Tall coconut tree varieties are more resilient to weather-related events related to climate change but take longer to bear fruits than dwarf varieties.
Coconut husks can be used as conservation buffers, helping retain water, control erosion, and provide nutrient enrichment.
Energy & Climate
Making better-for-you products can be resource intensive, which is why we are continuously looking for opportunities to reduce our own impact. One area we focus on improving is energy efficiency across our value chain and incorporating more renewable energy into our operations. We also aim to invest in decarbonizing and sequestration practices, working collaboratively with our partners to optimize their operational processes.
For example, some of our partner manufacturing facilities use coconut shells to power boilers, which generate steam from biomass energy. This reduces their reliance on other fuel sources, including fossil fuels, that may have a higher carbon footprint.
*Data based on Vita Coco 500ml Tetra Pak® products in the U.S.
We completed a Carbon Footprint of Products (“CFP”) analysis of our value chain in 2022. Through this exercise, we tracked and measured the impact of greenhouse gas emissions from our business across our product portfolio, from the sourcing of raw materials to the production, distribution, and disposal of products.
The goal of this analysis was to identify opportunities to reduce the company's overall environmental impact, enhance our approach to creating better-for-you products, and make incremental progress towards our environmental ambitions. By doing so, we aim to manage our own footprint while contributing to global efforts to help combat climate change.
The results of the CFP show that the largest share of global warming potential (GWP) from our business is from the processing, shipping, and packaging of coconut water. GWP is a measure used to assess and compare the impact of different greenhouse gases on global warming over a specific period compared to carbon dioxide—in other words, our carbon footprint. Within the shipping process, these findings highlight the importance of addressing our transportation practices, which play a fundamental role in our supply chain. As shipping and distribution are a large part of our footprint, our ambition is to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions throughout our logistics network. We strive to have efficient transport through route planning, leveraging intermodal transportation, deliberate inventory placement in our warehouse network, demand and supply planning, and optimizing load capacity in our trucks and ocean freight.
As more of our consumers hydrate with deliveries to their doorsteps, we also recognize the environmental impact of these deliveries can potentially increase. To further reduce our environmental impact from transportation, we launched carbon neutral shipping for all orders on our e-commerce direct-to-consumer platform for our Vita Coco and PWR LIFT brands. We also offer an add-on for customers to match our contribution.
We understand the importance of water sources, particularly in sourcing regions, and how their limited availability requires conservation.
With our non-profit partner, the Silvermill Foundation, we helped establish a water conservation program to train farmers on responsible water use. These sessions take place at demonstration plots, where farmers learn water-efficient methods to reduce their water usage, such as digging trenches and applying fertigation. Farmers also learn to use coconut husks to retain water in the soil, reducing the need for frequent crop watering. Additionally, these husks serve as fertilizer, providing soil nutrients for vegetation and reducing emissions.
As our company continues to evolve, our ambition is to continue proactively monitoring and managing water use across our operations.
Responsible Packaging & Circularity
We strive to build a circular, waste free business to reduce our environmental footprint and preserve our natural resources by reimagining, reducing, reusing, and recycling materials in our responsible packaging design.
To that end, the packaging we strive for maintains product safety and integrity while lowering waste and our overall packaging footprint.
We have developed a five-pillar framework to define our responsible packaging principles in progressive stages: rethink, reduce, reuse, recycle, and respect. These principles guide us in each stage of our packaging design process and influence our packaging choices. This approach ensures that how we source and how our packaging is disposed of is done in a responsible manner.
Framework & Principles
Throughout the lifestyle of our products, packaging should consider these 5 principles:
Within this framework, we highlight packaging attributes that represent the specific elements we modify during the design process to actualize our principles. We focus on the following packaging attributes:
- Responsibly Sourced & Certified Materials
- Recycled Content in Product Packaging
- Recyclable & Reusable Materials
- Lightweighted Product Packaging
- Educational Labeling On-Pack for Recycling
We also aim to promote circularity in our coconut supply chain through close collaboration with our suppliers and partners in farming communities to use every part of the coconut. As a result, they have implemented innovative practices that help minimize waste and maximize resource efficiency, such as using the coconut husks on the farm to retain soil moisture and to fuel boilers at multiple manufacturing facilities. Together with suppliers and farming communities, we strive to create a closed-loop system that contributes to a more resource-efficient future.