An Uncommon Partnership: Working Together to Disrupt the Cacao Supply Chain

Here at ChocoSol, we are first and foremost chocolate-makers, not cacao traders. While over the years, we have partnered with like-minded craft chocolate-makers in Ontario and Quebec to sell some of our organic, direct-trade cacao, this work has never been the focus of what we do. That’s why we are excited to share the news of one of our most recent and growing partnerships with Uncommon Cacao. Based in the United States, Uncommon Cacao sources and sells high-quality cacao from social and ecological projects around the world. Their work focuses on creating resilient, community-owned and operated cacao projects that have revolutionized local economies by connecting small holder farmers to the specialty cacao industry.

“Farmer prosperity is a key ingredient in good chocolate”.

ChocoSol has been working with Uncommon Cacao for a few years, and last year marked the first sale of albino cacao through ChocoSol to other markets. In 2019, for the first time ever, we facilitated the sale of 500kg to Uncommon Cacao. This year, 2020, we sold them almost 2 tonnes of rare albino cacao. This is exciting news for us for four reasons!

It supports the community of San Felipe de Leon.
Years ago, our partners in San Felipe were telling us that they have too much albino cacao. As the only international buyers of the albino cacao, we simply couldn’t keep up with the rapidly increasing supply of albino cacao as the albino cacao trees planted years ago as part of the ecological regeneration project all came into their peak production years. By establishing a partnership with a trusted, value-based cacao supply chain organisation, we are able to facilitate the sale of more albino cacao than ever before. This not only financially supports the growers, but also increases overall value of albino cacao in the region.

It protects the regeneration of Oaxaca’s forest gardens.
Increased value and demand for albino cacao ensures the long-term sustainability of the region’s ecological regeneration and biodiversity projects. Albino cacao plays an important role in the region’s ecosystem, but years of coffee monocultures had taken a toll on the ecosystem and left many communities vulnerable to drops in coffee prices or blights of disease. You can read more about the ecological regeneration project in the Chinantla region here.

It expands the knowledge and use of albino cacao in the craft chocolate industry.
We are proud to be one of the first chocolate makers in the world to experiment with albino cacao chocolates- but our vision has always been to challenge the craft chocolate industry to expand its values and its understanding of chocolate. That’s why we entered our entirely unique albino cacao Jaguar Pure and Jaguar Swirl chocolate bars into the International Chocolate Awards and were rewarded with new prizes and categories being created just for them! Today, we’re thrilled to have helped and to see more craft chocolate makers in Mexico, Canada, and around the world experimenting with red and albino cacao integrations and combinations in their chocolates. By partnering with Uncommon Cacao, we can invite even more craft chocolate makers and chocolatiers to take part in the albino cacao revolution.

It increases our capacity to shift the cacao supply chain towards one based on conviviality, ethics, and sustainability.
By working alongside organisations with a similar set of values and ethos, we have the opportunity to join forces in our efforts to disrupt the status quo cacao supply chain- one structured on poverty, child labour, and environmental degradation. Instead, we can work collaboratively on our shared visions of a people-centred cacao supply chain. Today, individuals are increasingly aware of their consumer impacts, and chocolate makers are seeing that ethical, direct-trade cacao can be financially viable and sustainable. Together, we can build a socially-just and ecologically sustainable cacao supply chain.

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