We love Fairtrade. It’s a certification which has driven real change in ethical production across the world.
But, our cacao isn’t certified by Fairtrade. Why? Well, as with most aspects of ethical production, it’s complicated.
It is simply not possible for a company-owned cacao farm, such as our Rabot Estate, to gain Fairtrade accreditation. Only smallholdings are eligible, usually working to a cooperative model. In St Lucia, where our journey began, we discovered that the cooperative model doesn’t work as well as empowering private farmers to grow cacao in a capacity that suits their personal needs and circumstances.
Certified Fairtrade crops are guaranteed a higher-than-market-rate price per kilo.
However, that doesn’t mean that a Fairtrade buyer can be found for the entire harvest. Often, farmers’ crops are sold at a mixture of Fairtrade and market-rate prices, reducing their total income.
At Hotel Chocolat, we work with thousands of farming partners, and guarantee to buy all their yield, every year. At a price that is significantly higher than market-rate.
We have partnerships that are not based on cooperative models and cannot be Fairtrade approved, and in St Lucia we run our own schemes offering farmers what we believe is a fairer deal - and have introduced long-term programs to improve these further.