Indonesia coconut sugar supply chain enterprise

This partnership establishes sustainable social enterprises that help smallholder farmers to improve working conditions, livelihoods and job opportunities.

Demand for quality coconut sugar is strong and growing. However, growth in the Indonesian coconut sugar supply is slowing due to a range of challenges in the supply chain, such as lack of productive trees.

Elevate has developed a social business to strengthen and grow sustainable supply, improving the livelihoods of up to 2,000 producers. Elevate provide training on best practice in producing coconut sugar, provide smallholder financing, improve standards and production in processing kitchens, and develop dwarf tree plantations to improve productivity and reduce the risk to climbers.

DFAT provide critical co-investment and advocacy support, and assistance with accessing local and regional agricultural expertise.

Location of partnership

Partnership aims

  • Improve market access through alleviating supply chain issues to supply finished coconut and palm sugar to large buyers in new, high value domestic and international markets.
  • Improve the earning potential of coconut and palm sugar climbers and cooks while creating a sustainable coconut sugar supply in Indonesia. 
  • Provide local technical innovations and assistance to improve yields and increase overall coconut and palm sugar growth, production and processing.
  • Establish a dwarf palm variety planting program to replace ageing trees, increase safety and incomes, and facilitate the entry of women to coconut harvesting, traditionally a male-only role.
  • Empower women through the creation of jobs in new, safe and sanitary kitchen processing facilities.

Key facts




Gender equality

This initiative promotes gender equality by:

  • Promoting women’s economic empowerment through providing new employment opportunities for women, and increased income from family enterprises.
  • Improved health and reduced care burden through introduction of improved cookstoves, replacing firewood.

New communal kitchens in high coconut and palm sap production areas will create up to 20 part and full time jobs per kitchen for women. These will be supervised by women and regular training will be provided through this initiative. Household sugar production will improve with better sanitary practices and improved cookstoves, replacing traditional wood stoves that create smoke and require more time for cooking and wood collection. Incomes from family based coconut enterprises will increase and be more secure as a result of the partnership. Payments will continue to be made through women to facilitate their management of family finances.

Shared value

This partnership creates shared value by redefining productivity in the value chain.

Elevate will sell its coconut sugar supply primarily to Unilever as a key ingredient in their popular sweet soy sauce product. Despite sourcing from multiple locations, Unilever is currently unable to source an adequate supply of coconut sugar in order to meet market demand for its product.

Investment in this supply chain benefits the incomes of nearly 2,000 coconut climbers and communal kitchen cooks (potentially doubling their incomes).

There will be health benefits to 200 (mostly female) sugar cooks through kitchen upgrades, and safety benefits to climbers through the introduction of dwarf palms.

What is shared value?

Shared value is defined as policies and practices that enhance the competitiveness of companies while improving social and environmental conditions in the regions where they operate. To qualify as shared value, there must be an identifiable economic benefit to the company as well as measurable impact on a social or environmental issue. The BPP is helping businesses partner with the Australian aid program in achieving shared value – advancing both social and economic objectives. These partnerships are primarily being created in one or more of the following ways:

  • Reconceiving products and markets
  • Redefining productivity in the value chain
  • Enabling local cluster development

Partner information


Elevate implements innovative approaches to poverty alleviation by creating social businesses that address market gaps in distribution or supply chains.

They aim to catalyse market opportunities that provide both financial and social returns, supporting new local supply chains and last mile distribution (i.e. the movement of people and goods from a transportation hub to a final destination), while addressing the market requirements of major multinational or regional corporations. Elevate will be the social operator, managing most aspects of the initiative.

Elevate logo 

Last Updated: 20 October 2017