Living Koko is about more than creating indulgent and nourishing cacao and chocolate products. Our entire business model is built on an ethos of supporting and empowering vulnerable communities to develop and nurture their own sustainable businesses and networks. Our deep commitment to our partner farmers in Samoa, Papua New Guinea and other Pacific Islands is grounded in our belief in food sovereignty, supporting Indigenous farming practices, and doing everything we can to minimise our impact on the environment in the process.
At home in Melbourne, Australia, we are highly active in our local community, working with other small businesses and groups for mutual support and benefit, and to empower and advocate for vulnerable groups and social justice issues.
- Respect – for land, cultures and every individual
- Reciprocity – ensuring mutual benefits for all parties involved
- Re-use, recycle and repurpose – low- and no-waste outputs, through sustainable and renewable practices
- Inclusion – ensuring everyone has a seat at the table, and that their voice is heard.
Without the deep connection and meaningful relationships Living Koko has with our Pacific Island farmer suppliers, our staff, our wholesale clients and retailers, our local community and our customers – we would be nowhere. Koko has connected people for generations, and we honour and continue that tradition today in how we interact and treat our people.
- We pay our Pacific Island farmer suppliers above the global per kilogram market rate for their cacao beans – supporting a real living wage and business growth. Our aim is to empower communities to establish and sustain their own economies, to ensure fair trade and improved livelihoods. We are proud to provide our customers with access to verified slave-free and free-trade cacao, helping to create demand and stamp out unethical cacao production.
- We work primarily with women farmers, to foster positive matriarchal and female-driven community economies. Our relationships with our suppliers is built on mutual respect, taking the time to understand how we can best support them to succeed, and being informed by them on what they need.
- We prioritise the employment of women and LGBTQIA+ members of the community, particularly those from indigenous/First Nations and migrant backgrounds. We pay our staff in Australia 15%-30% above the award wage, and provide flexible hours to assist mothers and grandmothers to return to the workforce.
- We believe in food sovereignty. Everyone has the right to healthy and culturally appropriate food, produced through ecologically sound and sustainable methods, and the right to define their own food and agriculture systems. We respect and support the continuation of traditional indigenous farming practices.
Committed to community
Community is everything at Living Koko. Our personal experiences have shown us time and time again that without community and connection, we cannot succeed and we cannot survive. We recognise and celebrate that being part of a healthy community is about being active and engaged, and contributing what you can to help others to help you. We relish all opportunities to take part in local events and to work with other businesses and groups to help them to achieve their goals, as much as we seek to achieve ours.
- We actively seek collaborations with other small businesses, particularly those that are Indigenous-owned and ethically, socially and community minded.
- We take part in promotional and activism events to advocate for underserved groups, and to bring attention to social justice issues.
- We regularly contribute financial or in-kind donations to charitable and not-for-profit organisations and activities, in particular for positively connected with Indigenous and global First Nations peoples.
- We offer discounted products or services to qualified underserved groups.
- We run quarterly mentoring workshops and networking meet-ups for other local small businesses and start-ups.
- We provide Living Koko spaces for community events and services, work actively to deliver and promote community activities and events.
Caring for our lands
From what we take from the earth, we give back. We believe in a circular economy and employ low- and no-waste practices across our farming and manufacturing practices. We also collaborate with businesses working towards reducing their reliance on non-renewable resources and overall carbon footprint. We consider deeply the impact of every product we make, from how it is cultivated, harvested, manufactured, wrapped and delivered.
At the forefront of our minds is the impact climate change has on the Pacific Islands, and the vulnerable future those communities have unless action is taken. It is why we are proud to be a member of the 350 Pacific Climate Warrior group, who advocate for environmental issues affecting the Pacific region, and why we go to great lengths to deliver our products while treading gently on the earth:
- We use the whole cacao bean to manufacture a variety of products – our body care range Koko Smooth uses the inedible but still highly nourishing cacao husks!
- All of our packaging is compostable and / or recyclable, including baskets hand woven from grass and palms
- Our manufacturing space in Melbourne is 100% powered by solar, with excess power fed back into the grid
- We seek suppliers, businesses, couriers and transport systems that are aligned with our Green Policy and have similar sustainability and environmentally friendly practices
- We promote education and mentoring on zero waste in bulk item distribution.
A small contribution of support is free seedlings to intercrop with their subsistence crop of taro, taamu and banana. The Koko income will provide for their future. This program has been created by the Samoan Chamber of Commerce with the support of Savaii Koko.
Living Koko acknowledges the Traditional Owners of the land on which we are based on, Narrm (Melbourne); the Wurundjeri and neighbouring Boonwurrung Peoples of the Kulin Nation, Australia. We pay our respects to their Elders, past, present and emerging. Sovereignty was never ceded.
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Unit 59, 56-68 Eucumbene Drive, Ravenhall. VIC. 3023, Australia - Wurundjeri Country
Living Koko - Samoa, Papauta, Apia, Samoa
03 9002 0067