Engaged Ethics

We ethically source cacao from Ghana according to our Engaged Ethics programme. Our sustainability programmes in the country comprise two layers of investment.

1. All of our Ghanaian cacao is supplied by farmers who have signed up to a sustainability charter covering four key requirements: know your farmer, prosperity, community and environment. In return, they receive a premium from us for their cacao, on top of the standard market price. This scheme is administered by Cocoa Horizons, an independent foundation. Farmers’ adherence to the charter is monitored and independently verified.

2. Hotel Chocolat funds a collaboration with a local NGO, Green Tropics, who run a combination of farmer support and community support initiatives in the two regions of Ghana where we source our cacao, Nkawkaw and Juaso. The initiatives include: model farms and radio shows to promote improved farming practice and conservation; seedling nurseries; a scheme providing young farmers with the skills and materials to farm cacao, and community projects including the creation of a medical centre and clean-water boreholes.

We’re empowering 2,000+ cacao farmers in Ghana to provide a good standard of living for themselves and their families.

We’ve signed up more than 2,000 farmers to our Engaged Ethics programme. Cacao is the backbone of Ghana’s economy, but too many cacao farmers there live in poverty. To help break the cycle, we’ve been working with cacao farmers in the Nkawkaw cacao district in Ghana’s Eastern Region since 2002, alongside a dedicated local team.

How it works
  • Engaged ‘boots on the ground’ since 2002 with our long-term Ghanaian partners Green Tropics Group, and supported by Nyonkopa on cacao trading and the Cocoa Horizons Foundation on governance.

  • Our objective: empower farmers, and create the conditions to raise them out of poverty, creating favourable conditions for health and education.

  • Long-term partnerships are delivering for farmers:
    • Better Prices
    • Stable Trading
    • Improved productivity – helping farmers to grow more, more efficiently
    • Community projects focusing on health, education, child labour and women’s empowerment

What we’ve achieved so far
  • Young Farmers Scheme: Helping young people to start out in cacao farming.

  • Model Farms and Cacao Seedling Nurseries: Providing training and subsidised plants to farmers.

  • Sponsoring and Delivering Radio Shows: Sharing best practices and bringing communities together.

  • We dug 3 more boreholes in 2019 that give clean, safe drinking water, and we’re planning to dig 3 more by the end of 2020.

Ghana: Doing the Right Thing

Our medical centre in Ghana has treated 2,500 cases in the last year.

Around 5,000 residents of Osuben used to be 8km from the nearest medical care, and often had to get there on foot, or be carried if they were too sick. This year alone, the 100% solar-powered clinic we built in 2015 has treated more than 2,500 cases – everything from expectant mothers and childcare to snake bites, machete cuts and malaria. We also help farmers and their families to cover costs with health insurance.

We’re teaching young Ghanaians how to be better farmers.

It can be difficult for aspiring cacao farmers to even get started. As well as training, we also supply equipment free of charge, from cacao seedlings to wellington boots and machetes.

This year, 60 new young farmers received tools and training in sustainable farming best practice.

We’re drilling borewells to give people clean drinking water.

Around 6 million people in Ghana rely on surface water, like rivers, to meet their daily needs. That makes more than one-fifth of the population vulnerable to waterborne diseases. Fetching water can also take hours to do, too often by children who should be in school.

So far we’ve dug a total of 8 boreholes that give clean, safe drinking water, and this year we’re digging 3 more. Money from the water bottles you buy in our stores goes towards our water projects in Ghana.

We’ve supplied over a million cacao seedlings to Ghanaian farmers.

Cacao tree varieties that give farmers good yields are hard to find in Ghana. Using our own truck, we transport high-quality seedlings to farmers from our six cacao nurseries: 100,000 supplied so far this year – 1.6 million since we started in 2002.

We’re building model farms to educate farmers and test new ideas.

To improve cacao-farming productivity and environmental best practice, we have planted three model farms in and around the Nkawkaw cacao district. These will help educate local farmers on best practices for planting, pruning, harvesting, fermenting, drying, using fertilisers and controlling disease. We’ll also use them to test new techniques for improving cacao yields, from irrigation to composting to biochar.

We’re helping local people build better communities.

As well as improving farmers’ incomes, we’re also investing in community projects in Nkawkaw that improve local services, well-being and infrastructure: everything from building a new road to providing a proper toilet for a junior high school.

We’ve even got our own radio shows.

In the UK, we call it Engaged Ethics. In Ghana, we call it ‘Kookoo Kuapon’ – meaning ‘Supremacy in Cacao Farming’ in Twi, the local dialect of Akan. We sponsor two Kookoo Kuapon radio shows every fortnight. As well as sharing expertise and advice with the help of the Ghana Cocoa Board, the shows raise awareness of issues affecting cacao farmers and encourage them to engage with us.