Here at Cocoa Runners we’ve done the hard work for you when it comes to ethical chocolate obsession. We’ve tasted in excess of 2000 chocolate bars, yet exclusively stock just 250 bars from the makers that best reflect our values – meaning our delicious chocolate really is good for the soul.
You can be sure that our brave and rebellious chocolate makers are using innovative solutions to help repair some of the damage done to this industry worldwide – one small and important step at a time.
To celebrate their gallant efforts, we’ve compiled a list of 5 of the most ethical chocolate bars. So when you’re enjoying the delicious taste of your next bite, you can transport yourself to the very origin of the cocoa – and know that you’ve done your part.
Enjoy our top 5 tales of victory in the world of chocolate production…
1. Original Beans – The story of Gorilla warfare
Image Credit: Flickr User: Noel Reynolds
The lush rainforest canopy is essential to the flavour and intensity of the cacao beans used in Original Beans chocolate, thus for every bar of chocolate sold, a tree is planted* in the Virunga national park rainforest where this sustainable cacao is developed.
Not only does this scheme help conserve the beautiful rainforest, it is also essential to providing a habitat for the last remaining 800 mountain gorillas in the world, who happen to reside in this forest.
Park rangers and Gorilla caretakers fight everyday to fend off cruel military militia and money-hungry oil companies who are desperate to poach the resources of this incredible area. See the link below to watch an exclusive trailer of “Virunga – The movie”, a documentary demonstrating these issues.
Virunga – Official Trailer 2014 from Grain Media on Vimeo.
*Use the code on the back of your pack to track the exact whereabouts of your tree.
Shop the latest bars from Original Beans today >>
2. Pacari – Santiago’s little helpers
Image Credit: Flickr User Ben Cumming (givingkittensaway)
This company has absolutely flawless ethics when producing its award-winning chocolate. Every fine detail of production is planned with a deep consideration for the communities and individuals farming cacao for Pacari in Equador, and the company pays a significant premium over market prices to ensure that their small-scale farmers are fairly compensated for their products.
Santiago, the founder of Pacari, recalls an anecdote about a farmer who had been recently producing far less cacao than usual, and who after some enquiry admitted he had suffered a back injury when carrying the beans across the mountains. Santiago gave the farmer a donkey (which would have cost the equivalent of a year of the farmer’s wage), which allowed the man to improve his income above and beyond his pre-injury level. This practice became commonplace for the farmers.
Check out the Pacari range today >>
3. The Grenada Chocolate Company – Pirates of the Caribbean
This exquisitely eco-friendly company use sailboats to ship their chocolate bars across the ocean by wind, making the journey completely carbon neutral.
But the goodness doesn’t stop there, as the Grenada factory is solar powered entirely by the beautiful Caribbean sunshine.
Mott Green, the late founder of Grenada (pictured above), was the first to break the government monopoly that controlled the sale of cocoa in the Caribbean. For the very first time, farmers were able to sell their beans directly to chocolate makers without being harshly exploited by middlemen.
Try a bar from The Greneda Chocolate Company today >>
4. Menakao – Fair Trade gone platinum
At Menakao, cocoa is bought at 5 times over that of standard Fair Trade price. The company decided not to ask for the official Fair Trade agreement, as this is extremely costly. Instead, they have invested in the well-being of their employees.
The production of chocolate onsite brings 4 more times local income to the community, therefore Menakao built a chocolaterie maintained by 20 full time and 15 temporary workers. Transportation is arranged for the employees to and from the chocolaterie, and things we take for granted such as air-conditioning and hot showers are great compensations for their hard work. They have free lunch every working day, and social security and retirement plans are provided with their contract.
Every worker has an average of 3.5 persons dependent on his or her salary – so the profit raised from Menakao chocolate sales indirectly benefits many in the wider community.
See the full range of Menakao bars today >>
5. Askinose – The Chocolate University
This Missouri based company source cacao beans from many different regions across the world. The company is committed to building long-term relationships with their farmers, and providing a sustainable source of income for members of the community – particularly the women. In fact, Askinose have recently begun working with a new female-led Tanzanian farmer group, led by local Mama Rahabu.
Askinose are also actively concerned with educating others about the communities that farm their cacao. They set up Missouri’s very own chocolate university, which organises trips for students at the local Missouri high school to volunteer in places like Mwaya in Tanzania. In past years, the chocolate university has funded the first textbooks at the local school, and a deep-water well for the village – which provides clean water to the 2000 residents who live in Mwaya.
Check out bars from Askinose today >>