Sustainability Sweet Spot
A bittersweet story
Every square of chocolate you eat carries a story that begins thousands of years ago in the rainforests of Central America and continues predominantly in West Africa where smallholders grow the delicate tropical trees that produce two-thirds of the world’s cocoa beans. Every time you peel back a wrapper, you’re joining millions around the world who have turned to this magical elixir for medicine and sheer indulgence for centuries. But there is a bitter side to this sweet story, with demand for chocolate driving deforestation and many farmers struggling to attain the true economic benefit of their cocoa crop.
Fortunately, cocoa can be grown in ways that support healthy ecosystems and healthy livelihoods too. For Ivorian farmerAmbroise N’Koh, winner of the 2019 Cocoa of Excellence award, the most prestigious global cocoa competition, growing environment-friendly beans isn’t just a commitment – it’s away of life.
Raising the bar
When Ambroise worked the farm with his grandfather in Azaguié, they’d consciously take time to “feel” the nature around them, dreaming of ways to build a secure future for their family, cocoa communities and cocoa itself.
To this end, part-time Phytopathology professor Ambroise has continually developed sustainable practices, becoming a renowned figure in agroecology. Taking nature’s lead, he’s welcomed hens and ducks onto his farm as natural pest controllers while fertilising the soil with their nutrient-rich guano, as well as using bees to pollinate his 50ha farm. Meanwhile, the farm’s surrounding coffee plants attract red ants that serve as natural protection against mirids and mealybugs, and the 80 trees he’s planted provide shade and sequester carbon, generating additional income.
Like UPL, Ambroise believes in the power of collaboration. From bud to bean, we’ve worked alongside him for 6 years. He was one of the first adopters of Banzaï®, the first-ever biological solution developed to help farmers diversify crops, improve yield and grow more with less. Banzaï® has helped to improve his yearly harvest rounds from 7 to 24 and his yield from below 1T to over 2T/ha, while transitioning to organic farming. And from bean to bar, Ambroise partnered with Axel-Emmanuel Gbaou, maker of the ‘Best Chocolate in the World’, who buys the “organic, agropastoral and exceptional quality” beans each year to create his singleorigin, 100% Côte d’Ivoire-made luxury chocolate, Azaguié.
We’re delighted to collaborate with farmers who are revolutionising the cocoa supply chain, ensuring the future of chocolate is smart, sustainable and sweet.