The world’s insatiable demand for chocolate is fueling poverty and environmental degradation. This report explores how a blend of fair working conditions and sustainable farming in Africa can deliver chocolate that leaves no bitter aftertaste.
Hendrik Reimers is the founder of the German start-up Fairafric. From bean to bar, the young entrepreneur oversees the entire production process of his chocolate products in Ghana. To date, it’s Europe that has reaped the profits from the trade in cocoa beans, but Reimers is looking to change that - by increasing Africa’s share of the value chain in the chocolate industry and generating jobs in the countries where cocoa is sourced. But there have also been moves to produce fair chocolate in Europe: Thomas Michel produces handmade, top-quality chocolate near Berlin. He sources his cocoa beans from a farmer in the Dominican Republic whom he knows personally, and is involved in every step of the production process. All additional ingredients are regionally sourced. And in the Netherlands, Tony's Chocolonely is a brand that has shown it is possible to build a socially responsible value chain and sell chocolate profitably at the same time. It began with a vision of producing "100 percent slave-free chocolate,” paying cocoa farmers a fair wage. The company has grown into the second largest chocolate brand in the Netherlands.