Dr. Bronner’s Launches Crowdfunding Partnership with Kiva to Support Small-Scale Farmers in Ghana

Partnership Connects Small Dollar Lenders to Sustainable Farmers Growing Palm Fruit for Fair Trade and Organic Palm Oil

April 20, 2015

VISTA, CA – Dr. Bronner’s, family-owned maker of the top-selling natural brand of soap in North America, has partnered with Kiva.org, the world’s largest crowdfunding platform for social good. Together they are launching a campaign to finance microloans to farmers and employees of Serendipalm—Dr. Bronner’s sister company in Asuom, Ghana. Serendipalm is the world’s first and foremost supplier of fair trade and organic certified palm oil. The campaign, titled Seedlings for Small Farmers will begin on April 23, 2015. For more information, visit the campaign page on the Kiva website: http://www.kiva.org/drbronners.

“Serendipalm farmers are showing the world that palm oil can be produced sustainably, without razing rainforests, without destroying habitats of endangered species or trampling native populations’ land rights,” said David Bronner, President of Dr. Bronner’s. “Through the expansion of our seedling loan program, we hope to help Serendipalm farmers increase their production and their incomes —ultimately contributing to a better quality of life via the fair trade model,” said Bronner.

Through Seedlings for Small Farmers, Kiva will facilitate the crowdfunding of 0% interest loans to Serendipalm’s smallholder farmers so that they may purchase more productive palm oil seedling varieties and expand their farm acreage. Visitors to www.kiva.org/drbronners can browse through the farmer profiles and decide who they want to support with a loan of $25 or more. Dr. Bronner’s will match the amount lent by individuals on Kiva, effectively doubling the financing available to farmers.

While Serendipalm has offered loans to farmers previously, the partnership with Kiva will allow for a significant expansion of the program. Thus far, over 80 farmers have requested microloans for seedlings. Seedlings purchased and planted today will result in a long-term and reliable source of income to farmers for decades to come.

“Kiva’s partnership with Dr. Bronner’s gives everyone a new way to support fair trade farmers and their communities,” said Premal Shah, President of Kiva. “By crowdfunding loans for sustainable, organic practices and being responsible consumers, each link in the fair trade supply chain is strengthened. We are thrilled to be part of Dr. Bronner’s efforts toward this vision.”

The organic palm fruit produced by farmers benefiting from this program, will be sold to Serendipalm, which in turn produces fair trade and organic palm oil and supports the local community through its Fair Trade Fund. This is the primary vehicle for supporting local community development projects and is funded by Serendipalm’s sales to customers such as Dr. Bronner’s and other like-minded brands.

Working exclusively with smallholder farmers, Serendipalm Co. Ltd. was founded in 2007, when Dr. Bronner’s committed to sourcing all its major raw materials from fair trade and organic certified sources. Sourcing palm fruits from more than 670 family farms, across 4,000 acres of organic-certified farmland, Serendipalm is among the largest and most attractive employers in the region, with the further benefit of administering fair trade premiums to support community projects.

Unique to fair trade, local community development projects are funded by sales of Serendipalm’s fair trade and organic palm oil. Projects are jointly chosen by local farmers, workers, and other stakeholders for the betterment of the community at large. This democratic and participatory process underlines fair trade’s transformational impact for local communities. From the onset, Serendipalm has been an active community partner. The company’s Fair Trade Fund has invested in several notable development projects including building nurses’ quarters for a local hospital and constructing four deep water wells to provide clean drinking water for the community.

Dr. Bronner’s commitment to healthy and sustainable agriculture, corporate accountability, and consumers’ right to know is part of the company’s mission to put into practice the social and ecological principles that inform Dr. Bronner’s philosophy printed on the company’s iconic soap labels.

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For further information on Dr. Bronner’s, please visit: http://www.drbronner.com.