2019 Sustainable food, organic farming and nature development Rodney Nikkels, co-founder of Chocolatemakers
Chocolatemakers is a craft chocolate factory in Amsterdam. They make ‘real’ chocolate and do everything themselves – from bean to bar. The chocolate is certified organic and uses only the very highest quality cocoa beans.
In what way is your approach innovative?
Chocolatemakers aims to pay a good price for cocoa beans; a price farmers can live from. It’s a ‘Living Income’ that’s higher than the world market price and higher than the Fair Trade price. This enables farmers to focus on production processes and plantation maintenance and produce the very best quality cocoa beans from which premium chocolate is made.
We also only sell organic cocoa. This means that no pesticides are used, which helps improve plantation biodiversity. Moreover, we buy from areas in which cocoa contributes to the protection of nature rather than its destruction.
The cocoa beans are transported from the Dominican Republic and Columbia to Amsterdam on the sailing vessel, Tres Hombres. This ship has no engine and sails using only the power of the wind. We deliver chocolate by bike within the Amsterdam ring road using Fiets Transport (FoodLogica) and also deliver to our German stores by cargo bike (Chocofahrt).
In addition, Chocolatemakers uses bio-based and compostable packaging and aims to produce the least amount of waste possible. Residual products are given a new lease of life, such as the cocoa husks, which are sent on to the tea industry. A new Chocolatemakers factory also recently became operational that generates its own electricity and the roaster is being converted so it can run on hydrogen.
What impact has Triodos Bank had on your organisation?
Triodos Bank finance has enabled us to acquire new premises, so that, as a company, we can enhance our sustainable ambitions, offer our customers even better service and grow further in volume. The factory is also open to the public. We organise tours and workshops to show people how chocolate is made, where it comes from and how sustainability is interwoven in all our processes.
What impact has your business had on the sector you work in?
Chocolatemakers aims to show other players how they could do this too: offer farmers a good price, produce outstanding quality chocolate and ensure that sustainability is integrated within business operations.
What impact has your business had on the community?
We hope and expect to be able to demonstrate how you can shape a new economy. Instead of linear value conversion (making economic capital from social and natural capital) we have developed a circular methodology, keeping social value intact and reinforcing natural capital.
How does Triodos Bank share your vision?
Chocolatemakers and Triodos Bank stand for the same values; for a world in which economic forces do not have negative impacts on people and the environment, but contribute to helping the world recover from the damage of the past 250 years.
Photo: Jitske Schols