Our Farmers

Engaged Ethics

100% ethical cocoa – from the roots to the wrapper. Doing the right thing, not just saying it.

Our cacao is 100% ethical: we work with farmers around the world in a way that adheres to the principles of our Engaged Ethics programme, and to our Cacao Sustainability Charter. The charter covers four key requirements: know your farmer, prosperity, community and environment (see box).


Where in the world?


We directly grow some of our own cacao on our organic, eco-conscious Rabot Estate cacao farm in Saint Lucia, and source still more through our Island Growers programme on the island, it was here that we humbly learned the intricacies of growing fine-flavour cacao. We also source cacao from Ghana, and from sustainable community co-operatives in Latin America and the wider Caribbean. We bring our experience as cacao growers ourselves in Saint Lucia to all our interactions with farmers and co-operatives.

Cacao Sustainability Charter: The Four Pillars

Our vision

Key achievements this year

KNOW YOUR FARMER
- Traceability back to exact farm location
- Understanding farmer age and gender as part of our commitment to preventing child labour

Farmers work on a professional and diverse farm, which is self-sustaining


We’ve appointed an independent agency to interview our farmers to identify what they require, in order to further improve our programmes

PROSPERITY
- Raising incomes
- Farming best practice to sustainably increase farm yield

Cacao farmers deserve the same respect as growers of fine Syrah and Chardonnay grapes. They are fairly compensated so that they can afford a better standard of living for themselves and their families.


Weekly radio shows share farming tips with remote communities

COMMUNITY
- Putting the infrastructure in place to support the health and education of our farming communities
- Child labour prevention

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


- Over 2,500 medical treatments at the medical centre in Osuben that we funded.
- 3 more boreholes providing clean water for farming communities in 2019; 3 more proposed by end of 2020

COMMUNITY
- Putting the infrastructure in place to support the health and education of our farming communities
- Child labour prevention

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


- Over 2,500 medical treatments at the medical centre in Osuben that we funded.
- 3 more boreholes providing clean water for farming communities in 2019; 3 more proposed by end of 2020

ENVIRONMENT
- Encouraging and facilitating tree planting
- Ensuring no deforestation
- Farms GPS-mapped to help monitor the above two commitments

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.


- 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

Saint Lucia – Rabot Estate
  • Our own organic-certified cacao farm on Saint Lucia.

  • We’ve been ‘boots on the ground’ since 2006, working to prove that we can return Saint Lucian cacao to its rightful place in the world’s fine cacao market.

  • Through our visitors’ centre we have connected chocolate lovers with cacao farmers, building links, improving understanding and sharing the value.

  • Discover The Story of Rabot.
Saint Lucia – Island Growers
  • Since 2006: We’ve guaranteed to buy farmers’ cacao harvests at a price higher than the market rate. We take all the cacao they can supply.

  • We’ve stabilised and premiumised the market, making cacao-farming a viable and respectable way to earn a living on the island again.

  • This has encouraged Saint Lucians to return to cacao-farming and even impacted the country’s cacao agricultural GDP:

The High Commissioner for Saint Lucia, His Excellency Guy Mayers, said of Hotel Chocolat, at the Academy of Chocolate’s Global Conference:


“They have led a transformation of the local cacao growing economy and model, with their new approach to sustainable luxury. Their sincere respect for our country has resulted in their pioneering Engaged Ethics programme, with over 200 local farmers now members. The programme has resulted in a circa 5000%-plus increase in the cacao agricultural GDP, from both price and yield increases.”

Nkawkaw Cocoa District, Ghana
  • Engaged ‘boots on the ground’ since 2002.

  • Our objective: empower cacao farmers to provide a better standard of living for themselves and their families by compensating them fairly for their work. They deserve as much respect as the growers of fine Syrah and Chardonnay grapes.

  • Cacao farmers want what we all want: fair pay for fair work, and to feed, clothe and educate their families.

  • Long-term partnerships are delivering for farmers:
    • Better prices
    • Stable trading

  • Improved productivity – helping farmers to grow more, with greater efficiency.

  • Community projects focusing on health, education, child labour and women’s empowerment.

  • Find out more about our Engaged Ethics in Ghana


Rest Of The World
  • We’re engaged in several other countries around the world, including Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Honduras and Nicaragua.

  • A blend of direct-sourced, certified and traded cacao, working with people who share our values.

  • We only buy cacao from people who share our values: Wherever in the world we buy cacao, we look for people with the same priorities as ours. Using our own experience as cacao growers in Saint Lucia, we’re able to cut out the middlemen and forge direct relationships, passing greater benefits to farmers. For our Rare & Vintage range, we source cacao from farming cooperatives and organisations that share our ethical outlook in Colombia, Ecuador, Ghana, Honduras and the Dominican Republic.

  • Find out more about our Engaged Ethics in Colombia, Ecuador and Honduras.