Since 2012, we’ve been doing work through The Vita Coco Project to positively impact the communities in which we serve. However, due to inefficient agricultural practices, combined with an aging coconut tree population, and the climate crisis, fewer coconuts are grown each year. So this year, we launched Seedlings for Sustainability which has a goal of distributing up to 10 million seedlings and trees across the globe by 2030. These efforts will help us reforest communities around the world through replacing aging coconut trees and providing access to more green spaces in neighborhoods. Which helps generate extra income for coconut farmers across the tropics while restoring communities across the United States and combating climate change.
With the launch of Seedlings for Sustainability, we knew education and community engagement would be pivotal in making an impact. So we set out to find a way to engage new audiences by creating a fun and interactive experience that helps build education around our impact work, while providing opportunities for them to get involved, and meeting them in a space where they are already present and active. According to Forbes research, “37% of Gen Z US adults stated addressing climate change is their top concern and are more motivated to reduce the efforts of climate change and pollution”. We know that our impact work will continue to evolve, and we feel strongly about activating in a space that allowed our community to grow, learn and create a positive impact with us overtime.
As more people are engaging on digital platforms to build community, participate in new experiences and have fun, we knew the best way to speak to this generation on the real impact of seedlings was to launch this activation as our brand’s first venture into the metaverse. After discovering Gen Z consumers spend twice as much time socially interacting in the metaverse, and that Roblox seamlessly combines gaming, community building and creativity with an engaged millennial and Gen Z audience, it became the perfect platform to organically build a user-friendly environment that was fun and can educate visitors in a consistent way.
The experience needed to hit 3 key elements:
To be a vehicle for good - We knew that it needed to include ways for the audience to directly impact our efforts in the physical world in a meaningful way. This is why for the launch, we committed to matching up to 100,000 seedlings planted in the experience with seedlings and trees distributed in real life, through Seedlings for Sustainability. While engaging in the experience and the games within, visitors were able to make an impact in real life, seamlessly. We doubled down on this element in our experience update for World Coconut Day, to celebrate The Vita Coco Project’s expansion into Brazil, by matching every seedling planted in the experience with $1 toward our impact efforts in Brazil up to $75,000.
To be educational – The experience allowed us to take users through the lifecycle of the coconut and give creators an opportunity to learn about the many ways coconuts can be used. From the planting of the seedling, to fertilizing and eventually harvesting the coconuts, visitors had the opportunity to learn various coconut facts and some of the tools and steps it takes to get a healthy harvest. As a part of the experience expansion, we took this a step further by letting our visitors continue the journey with their harvested coconuts by using them to get multiple outputs, using many different parts of the coconut. This created a hands-on opportunity for users to learn how 1 coconut can be used multiple ways, from textile creation with husks to water extraction, and reduce waste.
To build community – Through our impact work over the years, we have built a community of do-gooders who are excited to engage with us in our effort to create positive impact. This includes people from all around the world, including the farmers we work with. To connect our new community with our existing community, we incorporated elements into the experience like “Meet the Farmers” where visitors to the experience can read the stories of farmers who have been directly impacted by Vita Coco Project efforts. Additionally, as we began developing the expansion for World Coconut Day, we listened to our audience to guide the experience upgrades, including new multi-player mini games, wearable designs inspired by the community and unique challenges players can work together to solve.
The launch of the Coconut Grove experience allowed us to bridge the gap between the metaverse and physical world.
Our objectives were to build education around responsible farming, make progress toward our Seedlings for Sustainability goal in real life, and ultimately create an excited and engaged community. The Coconut Grove on Roblox, has been visited more than 25.6 million times by users engaged in planting seedlings, harvesting coconuts, and playing mini games. With a return rate that is comparable to top Roblox experiences. Following the expansion, we had 100,000 users visit on the 1st day.
Since The Coconut Grove launched, we have directly seen its success from increased content – players create an enormous amount of content both in the experience, with each other, and outside the experience on how to play and win. There have been over 670,000 engagements on social media about the experience, which has reached over 624.7 million people according to our social listening.
For real-world impact, at launch, we set the goal to match all seedlings planted in the experience – up to 100,000 – and distribute real seedlings globally through our new initiative. Upon launch, we quickly reached this goal in under 24 hours. Stage two opened up another opportunity to give back. This time we pledged to donate $1 to our charity partners in Brazil for every coconut seedling planted in the experience – this contribution will total $75,000 towards our impact goals.