In Sierra Leone they have a saying, “he who brings cola brings peace”. It pays reverence to the important role the cola nut has played for the people of the Gola Rainforest for thousands of years. For the past five years New Zealand company Karma Cola has been playing its part too.
Karma Cola co-founder Simon Coley recently visited Boma, Sierra Leone (where the company sources its cola nut) taking cameraman Phil Prendeville with him to document the difference Karma Cola is making (the footage recently aired on Sunday). Funding from Karma Cola has enabled the construction of the Makenneh Bridge ensuring safe transportation for people and supplies. The Karma Cola Foundation has also supported five primary and secondary school teachers, created educational opportunities to support female entrepreneurs, provided more than 60 scholarships, helped fund medical supplies during the Ebola eipdemic, and provided funding for the eco reserve and animal sanctuary on Tiwai Island.
And, through providing a solid channel for supply of the cola nut, Karma Cola can hopefully prevent encroachment from palm oil plantations.
“If we can show that the Gola Rainforest is productive without being torn down, then those palm plantations won’t reach here and this place will stay as biodiverse as it is,” says Coley.
Karma Cola is made with Fairtrade organic cane sugar and real cola nut grown by the Mende and Temne people of Sierra Leone. Part of the proceeds from each bottle go to the cola growers. It’s no surprise Karma Cola has twice been named one of the world’s most ethical companies by The Ethisphere Institute and the world’s fairest trader by The Fairtrade Foundation!