Heilala Vanilla was founded on sustainable principles and the trials and tribulations of 2020 have seen the company make a further commitment to the future of the planet, and the people that inhabit it.
To solidify this commitment, the company has just unveiled the Heilala Impact Document, a mission statement that outlines the company’s dedication to sustainability in Tonga and creating sustainable livelihoods, both now and in the future.
Heilala’s core reason for being is to support families in Tonga and set a new standard for the vanilla industry – to support farmers in the cultivating, drying and processing vanilla. In an industry where corruption and exploitation are prevalent, Heilala is committed to putting people before profit and community prosperity before individual wealth.
Working closely with local change agent MORDI (Mainstreaming of Rural Development Innovation Tonga Trust) to build industry capability throughout Tonga, Heilala shares its expertise and teaches the intricacies of growing vanilla.
“Our social impact statement really formalises the relationships we have cemented with our community and stakeholders and ensures going forward we can measure and share our impact globally,” says Jennifer Boggiss, Heilala Vanilla’s CEO and Co-Founder.
The impact of 2020 has seen Heilala pivot its business to ensure its Tongan partners are supported at a time when they need it most. The company was able to support the island nation with a shipment of sanitiser product they manufactured utilising ingredients they had on hand to produce their vanilla products.
Pure vanilla extract is produced using ethanol, the same high-proof alcohol used to make sanitiser and the company was able to supply the product to Tonga’s three hospitals and at the same time help address the shortage in New Zealand.
The production of the hand sanitiser attracted new customers to the brand which saw a 120 per cent increase in sales on the same period last year. This also saw the
company look to increases its sustainability, ensuring every part of the vanilla bean is used to create something of value.
This commitment to sustainability in a challenging year has been recognised by Sustainable Business Awards, with Heilala being a finalist in the People’s Choice – Resilience in Crisis category. The award is a public vote and addresses Heilala’s ability to weather a storm and create positive outcomes in challenging circumstances.