Headquartered in Houston, Texas, Wholesome Sweetener has been a pioneer of their industry since 2001. With collaborations with farmers and locals in Indonesia, Malawi, Mauritius, Paraguay, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, and Mexico, Wholesome has baked empowering farmer communities into their DNA.
WS believes that fair food creates stronger communities, which is why they have prioritized equality and social justice within the countries they work in across the globe. This mindset has prompted a priority of providing fair wages, safe working conditions, education and healthcare to their partner communities. This has primarily been ensured by the FairTrade Certified entity, a thorough and accountable certification process.
FairTrade is based on the simple idea that the products bought and sold every day are connected to the livelihoods of others. To date, Wholesome have provided 23 million dollars worth of proceeds to the farmers who provide them with the sugar cane that produces the Blackstrap Molasses that you enjoy in every MUIR gel.
Wholesome and FairTrade recognized that farmers of different crops face very different challenges, thus the FairTrade business model is such that farmers are given the autonomy and guidance to choose where the funds are allocated. Through a democratic selection process, the sugar communities vote on how to use their FairTrade premiums based on the needs of the community.
Below is a breakdown of how farming families and cooperatives voted in 2019:
FairTrade sugar sourcing addresses real challenges in farming communities and helps improve livelihoods at the beginning of the supply chain. Every day challenges experienced by sugar cane farmers include: low income per yield, lack of access to health services, harsh working conditions, and unsustainable production. Through the proceeds from Wholesome to FairTrade, solutions such as productivity investments, health clinics, rigorous labor and environmental standards are now able to be implemented.
In 2019, Wholesome was the leading sweetener brand in FairTrade sourcing, responsible for 70% of total premiums paid to sugar, honey and agave farmers; over $2 million dollars were invested back in these communities.
As if this wasn’t all incredible news, sustainable infrastructure beyond the harvest has been considered! The sugar cane by-product, bagasse, fuels electricity generation for local towns, effectively making them carbon neutral.
Wholesome Sweetener also gives back domestically, fighting food insecurity and racial injustice through their support for Bakers Against Racism and Feeding America. Bakers Against Racism works to elevate BIPOC voices in the baking industry, while Feeding America creates food security for those without access to healthy, reliable meals.
We are humbled and inspired by the paths our vendor partners have taken. It brings immense optimism and hope that together as companies and consumers, we can create a much more hospitable and ethical global experience.