FSM’s Vegan friendly Green Banana Paper at Pasifika

Green Banana Paper products made in the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) will be exclusively available from Pacific Trade Invest (PTI) New Zealand’s Pasifika Business Market at Auckland’s Pasifika Festival this weekend. The naturally beautiful products are vegan friendly wallets, paper and other products made from banana fibres. They are light weight and do not need any special handling.

Green Banana Paper is a waste-to-wealth company in Kosrae, Micronesia owned by Matt Simpson.

“We are proud to represent Micronesia and the Pacific Islands with these sustainably manufactured vegan products made from local materials and we are excited to represent Kosrae and share our story at the Pasifika Festival,” said Matt Simpson, the Founder of Green Banana Paper.

“Attending the Path to Market to Pasifika Festival will help put Green Banana Paper on the map as a sustainable manufacturer in the Pacific region,” he said.

PTI NZ’s Path to Market programme helps Pacific Island companies learn more about exporting to New Zealand. Participants attend the Pasifika Festival as part of the methodical 7-stage programme that starts with an in-country workshop.  After Pasifika Festival there is a Gap Analysis, Site visits and one to one business meetings.

Mr Simpson went to Kosrae in 2008 with the WorldTeach programme. He fell in love with the island and didn’t want to leave when his teaching contract ended.

He established Green Banana Paper established in 2015.  Now the company employs 25 local people who earn a liveable wage, while also providing extra income to 100+ local farmers.

He started the company after observing many of his former students were unemployed or working for minimum wage in the US.

He also recognised the rapidly-renewable local resource of banana trees and found a way to maximize the local resource while also creating jobs for local people.

However, banana trees only fruit once in their life and then must be chopped down to make room for their self-replicating offshoots to grow. Usually these trees are left to rot in the jungle.  Green Banana Paper created a way to recycle this resource.

“We bring the harvested banana trees to our eco-factory, where we transform them into unique handmade banana fibre papers, wallets, and woven products said Mr Simpson.

“We’re even more excited to meet other people and learn about like-minded companies and organizations in the region. We also have wholesale and private labelling programmes, so we’re stoked to meet other Islanders and see where and how we can collaborate around the islands,” he said.

For more information email PTI NZ Trade Development Manager Ian Furlong at ian.f@pacifictradeinvest.co.nz

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