Sustainability & Social Responsibility
The subject of sustainability and social responsibility is far more complex than can be covered in one page.
To learn more about cocoa farming, cocoa farmers, and all of our various social and sustainability efforts, please visit our Chocolove Social website.
If you just want a quick summary, here is what we’re doing.
Chocolove engages in several layers of sustainability and social responsibility, and works with several organizations. We do this because we have learned over the years and through a detailed study that not any one approach holds the entire solution. The subjects of corporate ethics and morality, social responsibility, and cocoa supply chain sustainability are all interrelated, but cannot be answered by one logo or name that you recognize. While you may not have heard or know about some of these organizations, they are in fact doing truly sustainable work.
Fair Trade – We offer three bars made with Fair Trade chocolate. We do this because customers have asked for it. Fair Trade allows the use of a “mass balance” system, meaning the beans that make the bar do not necessarily have to be Fair Trade beans. To be certified, the manufacturer need only purchase the equivalent mass of Fair Trade cocoa beans (which are often later mixed with non-Fair Trade beans during the cocoa-to-chocolate process.
IMO - Almost all of our chocolate is IMO For Life, containing at least 20% certified content. Our chocolate is made using beans from several different origins. Not all origins had the correct quality of certified beans last year. As more origins of certified cocoa bean become available, we will buy and use them in our chocolate, resulting in a higher percent of certified content. IMO For Life is directly traceable to the farmer coop in the producing country, and as such, the bean in the bar is directly from the farmer in the program. IMO has also inspected and certified our company factory in the US.
WCF - We are a contributor to the World Cocoa Foundation (WCF). We contribute more than our dues and have been members since 2004. The WCF is farmer-focused and helps all farmers, irrespective of whether they sign up for a program. The WCF approach strives to organize and educate farmers on issues of labor, proper use of soil amendments and plant treatments, crop management and post-harvest handling. They do all this with a view to increase farmer knowledge and then productivity, which raises farmer income in a self-sustainable way. WCF is not a certification group, so we do not add a logo to our packaging.
GGC - The Growing Great Chocolate program was set up and is run by Barry Callebaut. Chocolove believes that cocoa beans roasters and grinders such as Barry Callebaut have the responsibility to improve the farmer’s cultivation and post-harvest practices as a way to increase farmer standard of living. Also doing this ensures the future supply of quality chocolate. The role of sustainable cocoa farming truly belongs to them, the farmer, and not a third party. Farmers in the GGC program must sign an affidavit to the effect that they abide by International Labor Organization (ILO) standards for child labor, and if they are found to be in violation, are removed from the GGC program.
USDA - We fund projects at the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) Cocoa Research Station. Our funding is spent on a number of projects related to collecting, genetic fingerprinting, and preserving as many varieties of Theobroma cacao (cocoa tree) as possible. The cocoa bean is a seed, and unlike most seeds, cannot be stored and still remain viable. In order to preserve species, the cocoa plant must be kept growing and producing; USDA manages a cocoa preserve in part funded by Chocolove. Saving all the unique varieties we can find maintains genetic diversity, so that the farmer can plant good varieties, which can resist disease with minimal or no chemical use and provide good yields with fewer soil amendments. Reducing inputs while also decreasing loss and increasing overall yield, raises farmer revenue.
Chocolove takes a variety of approaches towards ethics, social issues, and sustainability, because each program answers a certain need for both the customer and the farmer. We are one party in a supply chain of eight, beginning with the farmer and ending at the consumer. We are fifth in the supply chain: farmer, coop, exporter, roaster grinder (chocolate maker), Chocolove, distributor, store, and consumer. Even though Chocolove is in the middle, we look out for everyone in the supply chain.
We are obviously committed to the consumer as is evident by the quality and flavor of our products. We are also dedicated to our employees and see that they get far more than the minimum wage and health care benefits fully paid, among many other quality of life issues.
For more information, details, video and photos, please visit our Chocolove Social website.
Social and Ethical Commitment
- We accept responsibility to assure that all ingredients in our products have been sourced through ethical and socially responsible means.
- We work to uphold International Labor Organization (ILO) standards with respect to child labor in cocoa bean harvesting.
- We will actively communicate our social responsibility philosophy.
- We are committed to a social solution that works for the farmer, the interim handlers, our chocolate supplier, and our customers and consumers.
- We will actively strive to get 3rd party certification for all Chocolove products.
- We believe true long term sustainability is the role of business and is not the same as certification
- We will retain the same great flavor and trust of our consumers.
- We will continue to offer the best value
- Good flavor at a reasonable price also results in good income for cocoa farmers.
We recognize that we must deliver the best flavor and value as well as the most transparent social position and sustainability practices as part of our overall commitment to customer satisfaction.