Our Farmers

Our Farmers

Our Farmers

Ethical, sustainable cacao – from the roots to the wrapper



Ethical cacao production is a journey, not a destination. Companies that really want to get it right need to continually reflect, re-assess, measure and develop their ethical business practices.

We’re continuously improving our methods as we learn more about the complexities and nuances of each region we work with. These methods are not fixed entities – they grow just like the cacao we all love so much.

That’s why we can confidently say our cacao is ethical. Whether in St Lucia or Ghana, where most of our cacao is grown, or in other regions around the world, we are hands-on, engaged and committed to being ethical.

The Hotel Chocolat Cacao Sustainability Charter:



Cacao Sustainability Charter: The Four Pillars 


- Traceability back to exact farm location 
- Understanding farmer age and gender as part of our commitment to preventing child labour 
Our vision: Farmers work on a professional and diverse farm, which is self-sustaining 
Key achievements: We’ve appointed an independent agency to interview our farmers to identify what they require, in order to further improve our programmes 




- Raising incomes  to Living Income standards.
- Farming best practice educational and Young Farmer programmes to encourage cacao farming as a viable career, and sustainably improve farm yields.
- Gentle Farming program (Sep 2021 onwards, Ghana) to further improve climate change resilience and enhance biodiversity.
Our Vision: Cacao farmers deserve the same respect as growers of fine Syrah and Chardonnay grapes. They are fairly compensated so that they can afford a living income for themselves and their families. 

Key achievements: Weekly radio shows share farming tips with remote communities 
Guarantee to buy all yields from our farmers.
Guarantee to pay a premium price per kg significantly above market-rate: Equitable or better than Fair Trade.




- Putting the infrastructure in place to support the health and education of our farming communities 
- Child labour prevention 
Our Vision: Robust structures are in place that enable communities and government to continually address the root causes of child labour and adapt best practice to prevent it 

Key achievements: 

• Over 2,500 medical treatments at the medical centre in Osuben that we funded.  
• 6 boreholes providing clean water for farming communities in 2019 and 2020.
• Child Labour Monitoring and Remediation scheme operating in Ghana
• Gentle Farming Charter (Sep 2021 onwards, Ghana) to level up existing strategies and provide even greater community support, including total eradication of child labour.




- Encouraging and facilitating tree planting 
- Ensuring no deforestation 
- Shade-growing and biodiversity incentivised and measured.
- Farms GPS-mapped to help monitor the above commitments 
Our Vision: Farmers’ land is free from deforestation, and farming practice is environmentally friendly, including crop diversification and to mitigate climate change impacts. This is continually monitored and adapted in accordance with the latest best practice. 

Key achievements:  

• Farmers commit to zero deforestation in return for premium price 
• All farms GPS-mapped and confirmed not adjacent to protected land 
• Six nurseries that we fund in Ghana alone have supplied over 100,000 quality tree seedlings this year



An interview with: Patricia Lamontage

“Bananas used to be called the ‘green gold’. Now cacao is the ‘brown gold’. Today, I sell 10 times more cacao than I sold before. This is what I tell farmers when I see them. Why waste time? Go into cacao. We have a buyer at Hotel Chocolat. 

“Hotel Chocolat’s subsidised cacao plants helped me replace all our old trees that had died. I bought them by the hundreds. We planted ten acres, with banana and coconut trees in between for shade. We hired two workers to help us maintain them. Now, we’re harvesting so much! They have the best flavour as well. The quality is much better. I know because I make cacao tea twice a week and my children love it. 

“Cacao farming is my passion. I enjoy the work, picking and breaking the cacao. It’s fun. It’s healthy. You’re getting exercise and using your energy. I love walking the estate in the late afternoon, around 5pm, when it’s not too hot. The birds are flying low and getting ready to settle for the evening. It feels very calm. That’s the time I enjoy the most. 

“Farmers who plant cacao can employ a lot of people looking for work. I tell them, please register with Hotel Chocolat because they’ll buy all the cacao you plant. I’ve now introduced eight cacao farmers to Hotel Chocolat. 

“One day, my children will follow in my footsteps. They’re going to continue planting and taking care of the cacao. If you sell the land, the money will eventually be gone. But keep the estate going, and you’ll always have an income.”