Innovation That Matters

A cacao farm with a cacao pod and a wrapper from The Other Bar. | Photo source FairChain

Chocolate blockchain programme supports cocoa farmers

Nonprofit & Social Cause

A new chocolate bar uses blockchain technology to allow buyers to donate to the farmers who grew the cocoa used

Spotted: Dutch NGO the FairChain Foundation has partnered with the United Nations Development Programme to develop a more equitable chocolate bar called The Other Bar. The bar, made with Ecuadorian-grown cocoa, comes with an opportunity to help fund growers. 

Inside each wrapper is a code that can be scanned to donate a blockchain token to the farmers who produced the cocoa. The scan will also show buyers exactly how much the farmer was paid for the cocoa in their bar and the exact GPS coordinates of the cacao tree where the cocoa for their bar was harvested. The token can also be used to get money off the next bar purchased.

Chocolate production is a €92 billion global industry. At the same time, farmers only receive around 3 per cent of the value of the cocoa used to make the chocolate and many cocoa farmers also do not earn a living wage.

FairChain is committed to helping by ensuring that farmers are paid better prices for their cocoa. The project includes paying farmers €3,080 per metric ton for their cocoa, compared to €2,174 from Fair Trade and around €1,721 from commercial buyers.

Each token is worth around one-quarter of a cacao tree, and the funding is used to plant new trees. The blockchain is used to track donations so consumers have proof of the impact of their donations. According to Guido van Staveren, founder of the FairChain Foundation, “The whole idea is to use technology to influence consumer behaviour and basically turn every product into a capitalist impact engine.”

FairChain’s project joins a number of innovations aimed at using blockchain for social good. In the recent past, these have included using blockchain to measure worker satisfaction, to report sexual harassment and helping refugees gain access to financial services.



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