In mid-October, two members of the Ora Cacao team will travel to the Côte d'Ivoire along with members of the Dr. Bronner’s team to investigate their work creating a regenerative organic supply chain in the heart of the global cacao country. If you didn't know, Dr. Bronner's sells not just soap, but chocolate bars too! They are a big backer of the new regenerative organic certification, and they've been quite successful with cacao in particular.
At Ora, we're very familiar with regenerative organic, because all of our ceremonial cacao is sourced this way.
From past travels, I know the experience we'll gain on this trip will be invaluable.
It's quite crazy that 70% of the world’s cacao (primarily going to big chocolate) is grown in just two countries, Ghana and Côte d'Ivoire.
From our perspective, most cacao grown in West Africa has been synonymous with lack of transparency, rock bottom prices paid to farmers, large conventional plantations, and even child labor. That’s why we’ve steered very far clear.
In fact, the US Congress over a decade ago mandated that the biggest US chocolate companies clean up their act and bring more accountability and transparency into their West African supply chains, and ten years later, they haven't done it, and said, it's not possible.
We're hoping this trip proves them wrong, and that's it's more of on an issue of willingness and creativity.
The regenerative organic standards are quite comprehensive and promise to be an evolution of the organic label. On our travels, we expect to see many contrasts from the best to the worst, and have great conversations about environmental and social impact.
We’ll take many photos and share the stories from our trip when we come back.
While we’re not actively considering sourcing from Côte d'Ivoire at the moment, we fully expect that this trip will broaden our understanding of the chocolate industry as a whole and the shifts needed to bring greater sustainability to it. It’ll help us strengthen the case for ceremonial cacao, and help us go deeper into our work with regenerative organic practices across all the communities we source from.
Unloading a shipment of cacao at Ora HQ today!
Stay tuned - next month we’ll be sharing more about the environmental and social impact of our work with cacao!