Our team didn’t just go somewhere tropical for a holiday, fall in love with ideals relating to eco-beneficial coconut bowls and bamboo straws; and then maintain a long distance ‘middleman’ relationship. Our team is English, Sri Lankan and Australia and we live across the world.
We have a small but brilliantly professional and extraordinarily capable Sri Lankan team who work with side-by-side with our small team in Australia and the United Kingdom. The dozen or so Tovi team members in Sri Lanka speak Sinhala, Tamil and English; and they are our front line… And importantly the key element behind what makes us different, effective with our social responsibility programs and our insight into how to make a positive change.
We don’t subscribe to corporate global ‘greenwashing’ programs and have the ability to actually understand what is truly needed and make the pinpoint changes that we can. We are unusual in so many ways – including the absolute belief that you need to truly understand a country, its culture, and the reality of life – to truly make a difference. There are not keyboard warrior moves, an annual holiday/business trip or satisfying some western ‘make the world a better place’ mentality. This is about reality and how through colleagues, family and community we make a difference.
A powerful example is that we have hundreds of very small-scale suppliers, not just one factory supplier. Having one central supplier is the only way to operate for most in our market as they don’t have the local team, the language skills, cultural understanding or indeed the trust to operate locally. We can. We would rather work directly with hundreds of small-scale artisan producers who know they can count on our orders every week (and be paid every week) so they can feed their families, provide educational opportunities and make a better life.
Whilst all coconut shell bowls are pretty much the same, and many have fancy skills with digital marketing; the power and uniqueness we have is that know that every one of our suppliers is creating a better future for themselves. Buying our products supports everything we are trying to achieve and does make a difference.