We are sometimes asked why we have chosen not to certify our chocolate with fair trade or organic certifications, even though the ingredients we work with fulfill the terms of both fair and organic. Below are the most important reasons for why we chose not to certify our chocolate.
WE WANT TO HELP PERSERVE AND RESCUE THE ORIGIN OF CACAO GENETICS
Cacao grows along the equator and there are many thousands of different native varieties, (many are not even discovered yet). Many of these varieties are completely unique and may be limited to a small area or around a specific village. Unfortunately, we now see that more and more of these unique and native varieties disappear. If we were to buy certified beans only, we would have to limit ourselves to a few varieties and places on earth, especially from the traditional bulk producing countries. We want to help preserve and rescue unique and native cacao varieties. So instead of demanding certifications, we ensure fair conditions and organic practices by having direct contact with the cacao producers we buy from and through visits to the origins.
WE CARE FOR THE ECONOMIC STABILITY OF OUR CACAO PRODUCERS
For example, the Fair trade certification follows the bulk price for cacao with an added premium. But fluctuating market prices create a huge uncertainty for cacao producers who cannot predict how much they will receive in payment from month to month. This constant uncertainty makes it difficult to plan for new investments, especially as many in developing countries live with weekly planned economies. We always pay the same or higher price from year to year and develop long-term relationships with our producers.
WE PAY FAR ABOVE THE FAIR TRADE PRICE
The bulk price is usually somewhere around 2-2.5 USD per kilo for cacao beans. Fair trade also guarantees a premium of 0.2 USD per kilo, which becomes a final price of approximately 2.7 USD. We think this is far too low. We usually pay about 5-8 USD per kilo to our producers, ie several times more than the Fair trade price. We think this is a truly fair pricing.
CERTIFICATIONS COST A LOT OF MONEY FOR THE CACAO PRODUCERS
To use a certification, the cacao producer must certify its production. This costs a lot of money in initial fees and annual checks that the rules set out are met. Fees that are paid to the certification organization. We have no interest in adding more costs onto the cacao producers especially for something they already do. We have to remind ourselves that the customers demanding certifications are rarely the ones paying the price, it is more often the farms and producers.
CERTIFICATIONS SAY NOTHING ABOUT QUALITY
Neither organic nor fair trade certification tells us anything about the quality of the cacao beans. On our trips to cacao growing countries, we have countless times seen defective cacao sold with arguments that it is certified organic. Unfortunately, our experience is that many consumers associate quality with certifications and we do not want to contribute to the confusion. We only deal with cacao of the highest quality and ensure this in other ways.