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MADÉCASSE

Location: Ambanja & Antananarivo, Madagascar, and Brooklyn, New York

Products: Chocolate Bars, Pure Vanilla Extract, Bourbon Vanilla Beans, Couverture Baking Discs

THE GOODS

Fair for Life certified chocolate.

Chocolate made in Madagascar, from start to finish.

Focus on sustainably developing the local economy in Madagascar.

Packaging made and hand-wrapped in Madagascar.

Use of locally sourced ingredients.

Direct relationships with Fair Trade certified farmers.

Founded by former Madagascar Peace Corps Volunteers.

Use of a rare, original strain of cacao, referred to as “pure Ancient Criollo,” found nowhere else on Earth, helping it to stay viable through responsible harvesting.

OF ALL OF THE THINGS THAT YOU DO TO BE MORE SUSTAINABLE OR CONSCIOUS, WHAT IS MOST IMPORTANT TO YOU OR WHAT ARE YOU MOST PROUD OF?

Madécasse is the only chocolate available in the US that’s actually made in Africa, while nearly 70 percent of the chocolate in the US market is made with cocoa from Africa. That is a heartbreaking and outrageous statistic to us. We’re proud to be among the very few companies worldwide who have even attempted chocolate-making in Africa, and we’re empowering Africans in the process, economically and socially. We’re committed to supporting sustainable development and economic diversification in Madagascar; we want our chocolate to inspire our customers while lifting up our producers, turning the chocolate industry on its head along the way.

AS A CHOCOLATE PRODUCER, WHY IS IT IMPORTANT TO OPERATE SUSTAINABLY?

Like anything, chocolate-making takes natural and human resources. Irresponsible use of the natural resources in our chocolate threatens their survival and, especially in Madagascar, preserving biodiversity is a global priority. So, we grow our cacao in a way that doesn’t damage the surrounding forest, and we help our farmers implement sustainable agriculture practices, among other things. Alleviating poverty in Madagascar is another key to the island’s sustainable development. So, we provide high-wage jobs, skills training, and a stable market for our farmers, factory workers, and office staff. This isn’t something we do on the side; sustainability and responsibility are built into our ethics.

TCHO

Location: Berkeley, California

Products: PureNotes dark chocolate, SeriousMilk chocolate, TCHOPairings chocolate bars with ingredients, cocoa powder, cacao nibs, drinking chocolate, and couverture.

THE GOODS

Fair for Life certified chocolate.

Chocolate made in Madagascar, from start to finish.

Focus on sustainably developing the local economy in Madagascar.

Packaging made and hand-wrapped in Madagascar.

TCHOSource direct sourcing and farmer relationship management program.

Fair Trade Certified.

Certified Organic.

Use of locally sourced ingredients.

Direct relationships with Fair Trade certified farmers.

Founded by former Madagascar Peace Corps Volunteers.

Use of a rare, original strain of cacao, referred to as “pure Ancient Criollo,” found nowhere else on Earth, helping it to stay viable through responsible harvesting.

OF ALL OF THE THINGS THAT YOU DO TO BE MORE SUSTAINABLE OR CONSCIOUS, WHAT IS MOST IMPORTANT TO YOU OR WHAT ARE YOU MOST PROUD OF?

TCHOSource is our unique program dedicated to partnering directly with our growers and working closely with them to produce great cacao. We provide innovation, technology, and know-how that empowers them to improve their livelihoods and hone their craft. They provide the superior beans that enable us to produce obsessively good chocolate. TCHOSource is the ultimate win-win, setting the stage for long-term growth and sustainable development through fulfillment of mutual self-interest.

AS A CHOCOLATE PRODUCER, WHY IS IT IMPORTANT TO OPERATE SUSTAINABLY?

To consistently produce the best chocolate that we can make, we have to go all the way back to the source to ensure that the flavors we value can be maintained from year to year. Sustainably managing our supply chain is the right thing to do both for our business (and its consumers) and for our suppliers on whom we depend entirely for the best quality cacao in the world.

RITUAL CHOCOLATE

Location: Park City, Utah

Products: Single Origin Chocolate

THE GOODS

Direct relationships with cacao farms.

Pays cacao farms for quality, allowing them to set their prices three to five times higher than Fair Trade and/or the world price.

All packaging can be recycled.

Bean-to-bar process reduces carbon footprint (because the cacao changes hands fewer times).

OF ALL OF THE THINGS THAT YOU DO TO BE MORE SUSTAINABLE OR CONSCIOUS, WHAT IS MOST IMPORTANT TO YOU OR WHAT ARE YOU MOST PROUD OF?

Because we are buying from and have a direct relationship with small cacao producers, it’s easier to track their working conditions and ensure that there is no child labor or overall poor labor conditions on the farm. We are contributing to what we call a “quality” buying model for cacao, which allows farmers to charge a sustainable price for their cacao based on quality and flavor. Chocolate makers can then produce a quality chocolate and customers can experience a high quality and healthy chocolate with a complex and interesting flavor.

AS A CHOCOLATE PRODUCER, WHY IS IT IMPORTANT TO OPERATE SUSTAINABLY?

Chocolate is an agricultural product that doesn’t do well under “factory farming” conditions. Cacao grows best when the forest is healthy (e.g., biodiversity, healthy soil, thriving insect population, etc.). Cacao is also a very delicate species and struggles to produce fruit when conditions aren’t just right. So, if we aren’t directly doing our part to lessen our negative impact on the planet, we are directly hurting the future of cacao.

ALTER ECO AMERICAS

Location: San Francisco, California

Products: Chocolate bars and truffles made from cacao beans from the Peruvian Amazon and the Ecuadorian Coast

THE GOODS

USDA Certified Organic.

Fair Trade Certified.

Carbon Neutral Certified.

Non-GMO Project Verified.

Benefit Corporation.

SF Green Business.

In 2014, Alter Eco contributed to planting

5,085 trees through carbon offset programs with partner cacao farmers in Peru.

Employee benefits such as paid public transportation, which promotes lower carbon emissions during work commute.

OF ALL OF THE THINGS THAT YOU DO TO BE MORE SUSTAINABLE OR CONSCIOUS, WHAT IS MOST IMPORTANT TO YOU OR WHAT ARE YOU MOST PROUD OF?

At Alter Eco, we’re most proud of our “full-circle sustainability” model. We work to nurture all aspects of our business in the most sustainable way, from the people involved in our organization to the supply chain to the environments where we source our goods. As a company, we have identified four main areas where we can have maximum impact: 1) sourcing through direct relationships and Fair Trade with our farmers and cooperatives, 2) producing only organic and non-GMO foods, 3) offsetting our carbon emissions and reforestation, and 4) creating minimal waste by transitioning our product lines to home compostable packaging. – Edouard Rollet, Co-Founder & Co-CEO, Alter Eco Americas, PBC

AS A CHOCOLATE PRODUCER, WHY IS IT IMPORTANT TO OPERATE SUSTAINABLY?

It is important to operate sustainably because we need to respect the hard work of the farmers who produce a crop that allows millions of consumers worldwide to enjoy their favorite chocolate delicacies. Fostering a full-circle sustainability model guarantees that children in farming communities are in school where they belong, and not working in the fields. It also means respecting the health of farmers and consumers by exclusively using organic crops and refusing the use of chemicals. Finally, it is an opportunity to promote agroforestry, which produces the best cacao beans while replanting trees and combating deforestation. – Mathieu Senard, Co-Founder & Co-CEO, Alter Eco Americas, PBC