Among our many values and objectives, we prioritize the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals in our work. As a company that values sustainability as much as profitability, we have found that these goals often work together rather than conflict. By committing to responsible and sustainable business practices, we have found more opportunities to invest in economic development and grow community partnerships in Moreau, Haiti. We aim to uphold six of these goals through our collaboration with farmers in rural Haiti.
The first sustainable development goal is to end global poverty. This is a complex challenge related to access to education, employment, sanitation, food, and more. Above all else, we strive to achieve this goal in rural Haiti, where a majority of the population works in agriculture and earns less than $2 per day. We have identified soil erosion and deforestation as root causes of ongoing poverty and malnutrition in rural Haiti; since 2017, we have partnered with the Farmers’ Association in Moreau, Haiti to invest in farmer-led initiatives to plant vetiver hedges and raise bee colonies in the community. These sustainable agriculture initiatives, in conjunction with our community development efforts, offer additional sources of income and opportunities to help grow a poverty-free future for these farmers.
SDG 2 focuses on eradicating hunger around the world, as this is a critical effect of poverty. In Haiti, malnutrition and hunger-related complications affect 40% of the country’s residents, disproportionately creating health disparities for women and children. Due to Haiti’s reliance on foreign food imports and subsistence agriculture, many Haitians have difficulty accessing nutritional food year-round. Rural farmers are particularly impacted by these shortages as they rely on their own subsistence crops for food, have to travel long distances for medical care, and lack consistent access to clean drinking water. By investing in sustainable farming practices, we are ensuring that farmers in rural Haiti are able to support their families now and in the future.
The eighth sustainable development goal promotes decent work and economic development as sustainable means of overcoming poverty, hunger, and public health challenges. To grow a poverty-free Haiti, we need to create income opportunities for farmers and their families that simultaneously support sustainable agriculture. We recognize that we can only achieve this by collaborating with locally managed organizations and investing in farmer-led solutions. Through our partnerships with MIJABA and the Farmers’ Association in Moreau, we innovate solutions for soil erosion and deforestation, while investing in sustainable livelihoods for farmers in rural Haiti; when we buy honey and beeswax from farmers, they earn a reliable, equitable income while caring for their land and local ecosystems.
SDG 9 focuses on developing sustainable industry, innovation, and infrastructure around the world — recognizing that communications technology, transportation, and collaborative communities are key for economic growth in developing countries. We have partnered with farmers in Moreau, Haiti to address complex problems rooted in lack of public infrastructure — eroding roads and farm fields, lack of income opportunities, and isolation from schools and hospitals. By supporting community-led initiatives — raising bees around the village to our Community Development Fund — we support new employment opportunities for farmers and agriculture-related occupations through sustainable farming practices and infrastructure improvements.
Next, SDG 12 reminds us that achieving a poverty-free future is only possible by investing in responsible production and consumption today. Since our founding, we have made environmental sustainability essential to our operations; there are no trade-offs for responsible production and consumption, since every step from the farm fields in Haiti to the retail shelf in Minnesota has been designed to minimize waste and maximize sustainable practices. Our partner farmers harvest honey and beeswax with care, allowing us to make finished goods that reduce consumer dependence on wasteful consumables and personal care products. We use compostable, biodegradable, recyclable, or reusable containers for all of our products — even going so far as to reuse the packaging materials in shipments we receive for our own domestic transportation. By committing to these practices, we demonstrate that economic development in rural Haiti is possible through sustainable agriculture and supply chains — not in spite of them.
Lastly, SDG 15 explains the importance of land ecosystems — forests, prairies, rivers, and so many more — in sustaining people around the world. Biodiversity of plants, animals, insects, and many other life forms are critical for healthy ecosystems and communities. Since 27% of the global population works in agriculture, it is critical to protect forests and farmlands for current and future generations. We collaborate with farmers in Moreau to preserve the natural forests in their mountainous farming region; trees are essential sources of foods like fruits and nuts, and prevent soil erosion with their wide roots. This model helps farmers invest in sustainable agriculture solutions and protect the natural ecosystems in their community while giving them new sources of income.