Original Beans empowers local farmers, preserves rainforest biodiversity, and lets users track the impact of their chocolate bar online.
As Easter season comes around, many of us are looking forward to consuming ungodly amounts of chocolate. When it comes to this special treat, not all bars are created equal. In the past years, the ethics of chocolate production have been under increasing scrutiny, and fair trade and organic chocolate seems to be on the rise.
Original Beans takes the social consciousness of chocolate to a new level, following a detailed set of principles. The company follows the principle of “One bar: one tree”. For each purchased chocolate bar, a tree is planted in the area where the cacao beans were harvested. The new tree can be a cacao tree – providing further livelihood to the farmers and replenishing stocks – or another kind of tree, which still contributes to preserving and promoting biodiversity in the area and helping the fight against climate change. The code on each chocolate bar allows the consumer to track the area where their tree is planted, encouraging ethical consumption.
Furthermore, each chocolate bar is not only a delight for your palate, but also a way to empower communities in rainforest areas. Original Beans is active in several parts of the world: the Democratic Republic of Congo, Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador and Papua. Original Beans trades directly with the locals and provides training, thus empowering them rather than just taking their resources.
The case of Femmes de Virunga is a great example. This project is a collaboration between Original Beans and IDAD, an NGO promoting cocoa conservation and female empowerment in Eastern Congo. Femmes de Virunga chocolate, described on the Original beans website as “dark milk chocolate enchants with creamy notes of cappuccino & roasted nuts” is made of cacao harvested next to Virunga national park. Eastern Congo often makes international headlines for its political instability and war crimes. Women are often the most victimized group in the area. Original Beans and IDAD train local women to become cacao farmers and entrepreneurs, and thus become more independant.
Original beans re-humanizes the chocolate production process by allowing customers to track the trees being planted, learn more about the local farmers and in some cases even communicate with them. And it doesn’t hurt that their chocolate is exquisite, and has won several international awards for its taste.