top of page
  • roshanloungani

Impact Investing with Dignity Coconuts and Erik D. Olson

RL074 - Retirement Lifestyle: Impact Investing with Dignity Coconuts and Erik D. Olson

Today on the Retirement Lifestyle Show, Roshan Loungani, Erik Olson, and Adrian Nicholson talk to Erik Olson in the fourth installment of the value investing series. Erik is the president of Dignity Coconuts, a social enterprise that seeks to affirm dignity by ending poverty and slavery in the Philippines. They talk about modern-day slavery, the challenges of launching businesses in third-world countries, and the current state of socially responsible investing.

[07:58] Fighting Sex Trafficking Through Coconut Oil

[10:44] Creating Income-Generating Activities to Combat Trafficking

[12:31] Coconut Oil Benefits, Nutrition, and Popular Uses

[14:15] Erik's Journey into the Nonprofit World

[20:02] Challenges Facing Socially Responsible Investing in the Philippines

[28:53] Why it's Important to Know Where Products are Manufactured

[31:20] Business Success and Authentic Social Impact

[38:02] How Erik and his Team Successfully Built and Scaled their Business

[42:35] The Current State of Impact Investing

[46:40] Risks and Costs of Impact Investing

[52:30] Benefits of Using Coconut-Based Lip Balms

[54:50] Investment and Relationship Opportunities in Dignity Coconuts

Erik's (Dignity Coconut) Links and Resources

For more links and the full show notes keep scrolling down!

Roshan Loungani can be reached at or at 202-536-4468.

Erik Olson can be reached at or 815-940-4652.

Adrian Nicholson can be reached at or at 703-915-8905.

Listen to the whole episode on our website here:

OR for links to your favorite platform like Spotify, iTunes and so on go here:

Select episodes, like this one can be found on YouTube:

Full Show Notes:

Fighting Sex Trafficking Through Coconut Oil

According to a September 2017 report from the International Labor Organization, an estimated 24.9 million victims are trapped in modern-day slavery. Sadly, most of these trafficked individuals are women and children. And what's even more worrying is that most rescued victims would rather stay in slavery than go back home. This is because even in slavery, they are guaranteed money, shelter, and relevance. With that in mind, Erik and his team decided to fight back by developing a sustainable way of transforming communities. They realized that building schools was just not enough when tackling sex trafficking. And that's why they shifted from a nonprofit charity approach and built a business that could employ thousands of people. As a result, they get to prevent sex trafficking from happening in the first place and guarantee financial freedom for the rescued victims.

Challenges Facing Socially Responsible Investing in the Philippines

While socially responsible investing plays a role in ensuring economic growth and development for communities, several factors directly impact the sector's growth. For Dignity Coconuts, the first major hurdle was poor infrastructure. The proposed site for their manufacturing plant was in a remote Filipino village that was practically off the grid. Consequently, the movement of building materials and specialized labor was a challenging task. Fortunately, the local governor heard their plea and built seven bridges and paved 35 miles of concrete roads within the surrounding communities. However, like most third-world countries, The Philippines is a corruption-plagued country where no business goes on without bribes playing a part. Their reluctance to pay bribes meant that most of their projects stalled since permits took ages to be approved.

Socially Responsible Investing and Portfolio Performance

The past couple of years has witnessed an increase in the number of people taking up impact investing. Millennials have become active in pursuing investment opportunities that generate beneficial social and environmental effects as well as financial gains. Erik explains that investors who take up impact investing believe in their duty to positively serve society as a whole while pursuing financial gain. Although the type of impact varies from company to company, as Erik explains, it all comes down to your preferences and beliefs. If you believe in fighting global warming, you could invest in electric cars, for example. So, the next time you think about investing or giving out to charity, make a point of checking how the company impacts the community.

Erik's (Dignity Coconut) Links and Resources

All opinions expressed by podcast hosts and guests are solely their own. While based on information that they believe is reliable, neither Arete Wealth nor its affiliates warrant its completeness or accuracy, nor do their opinions reflect the opinion of Arete Wealth. This podcast is for general informational purposes only, and should not be regarded as specific advice or recommendations for any individual. Before making any decisions, consult a professional.

501 views0 comments


bottom of page