Why Shared Value?

By Sera Price

We’ve talked a little about what shared value is and who’s doing it. There is one more image from the creative and inspirational folks at Textile Exchange that needs to be ‘shared’. It’s brilliant, and at the heart of the Wellington Chocolate Voyage.Collaborative_Series_1_1

We endeavour to understand the local context, pressures and systems, and we are always listening and learning. We want to be proactive and to work with growers in a way that works well for them. We want to facilitate co-creation in the supply chain – though this venture it’s important that we are both achieving our goals/vision. And promotion of sustainable practices – be good to our environments and care for they wider community. It really is “A way of delivering business to the benefit of all”.

The Wellington Chocolate Voyage is now live! Go to our Kickstarter page to become a backer, follow us on Facebook, and help spread the word!

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Shared value: it’s what the cool kids do

The Wellington Chocolate Voyage is now live! Go to our Kickstarter page to become a backer, follow us on Facebook, and help spread the word!

By Tabbie

The Wellington Chocolate Voyage kickstarter is rooted in the principle of shared value. Creating shared value begins with the understanding that for our business to prosper long term, the communities we serve must also prosper. We are a devoted business of chocoholics with big hearts: we believe (and are demonstrating) that the shared value approach gives us a measurable competitive advantage in our field.

It’s a powerful idea and and it’s spreading. There are many other companies doing amazing things – one great example is our friends at Flight Coffee in Wellington.

Flight Coffee are turning the green bean and coffee industry on its head. Their Helena project is about eight months old, and aims to transform what was once a commodity coffee farm into a “super specialty haven” growing rare and heirloom varieties of bean. Sustaining the unique native forest, and nurturing the region’s rich biodiversity, they also see some extraordinary flavours in a cool little mutually beneficial cycle. They somehow seem to merge ethical credentials with impeccable style (check out their team’s perfectly managed facial hair).

Check out their blog at http://flightcoffee.co.nz/blogs/helena-specialty-coffee-farm-transformation to learn more if you’re interested.  For your viewing pleasure here’s a sweet little Flight Coffee vid of some farmers learning best practice growing and harvesting techniques on a model farm in Jimma, Ethiopia:

Inspiring!

Coffee Flight

The Wellington Chocolate Voyage is now live! Go to our Kickstarter page to become a backer, follow us on Facebook, and help spread the word!

What is shared value?

The Wellington Chocolate Voyage is now live! Go to our Kickstarter page to become a backer, follow us on Facebook, and help spread the word!

By Sera

The Wellington Chocolate Voyage project is rooted in the idea of ‘shared value’, a sustainable approach to business that sees companies and communities reinforcing each other and growing together.

Shared value brings together several powerful ideas that have been around for a while. It’s been taken up by some pretty big companies, which is a good thing, but that doesn’t mean they should be the sole champions. Have a look at the video from ‘the B-team’, and the wonderful Farmhub Textile Exchange; Creating Material Change people who demonstrate though their excellent graphic how this relates to smaller, developing countries and sectors – and why it’s so important!

The Wellington Chocolate Voyage project is about much more than growing beans; it’s about growing dreams. It’s about working co-operatively with James Rutana and other growers in Bougainville to create shared value across businesses and communities, and support lasting positive changes in people’s lives. All while making great chocolate!

The Wellington Chocolate Voyage is now live! Go to our Kickstarter page to become a backer, follow us on Facebook, and help spread the word!

WCF meets Bougainville – via Sera

The Wellington Chocolate Voyage is now live! Go to our Kickstarter page to become a backer, follow us on Facebook, and help spread the word!

By Sera

sera and raymond

And this is me! With Raymond Muworo amongst the cocoa trees in Bougainville.

Raymond works for the Division of Commerce of the Autonomous Bougainville Government. He has been a huge help to us, introducing us to key people in the cocoa industry and helping us understand how things work in Bougainville.

I lived in Bougainville for 16 months from early 2010 through a Volunteer Service Abroad (VSA) assignment working with the Division of Lands and Physical Planning, of the Autonomous Bougainville Government (ABG). I’m still there, on and off these days with a company called Tuia International who are doing neat things working with the ABG to build their capacity and capability.

I love Bougainville! The people are awesome, the place is amazing, and their story is phenomenal. Bougainville is recovering from a civil war that lasted 10 years from 1989 – 1999 and killed 20,000 people, destroyed physical infrastructure, the social fabric and the local economy. The main factors contributing to the war was environmental degradation, disregard for custom and erroneous/inadequate benefit sharing.

Here are some pretty special photos:

angela mine

My friend Angela, a landowner overlooking the remains of the Panguna Mine.

turquoise river

Water coming from the mine flowing into a downstream river. The colour is caused by the copper sulphate.

alluvial river

The lower tailings – rubbish from the mine sluiced down into the valley bellow. It’s a gravel wasteland.

The people I have met and have been lucky to get to know have so much passion and optimism about improving their situation and doing it themselves that it’s infectious. During my time there I’ve learnt that land is very important, luckily about 97% is still held by the people under customary ownership. In terms of redeveloping their economy, mining will always be there as an option but agriculture is a sustainable alternative that the vast majority can participate in right now. Bougainvilleans are great cocoa growers! The crisis wiped out virtually everything so they are rebuilding, but the jungle has reclaimed a lot. Unfortunately, this has created conditions for a recently introduced pest Cocoa Pod Bora to thrive. They have achieved a lot but there are still challenges.

I met the Wellington Chocolate Factory folks when I blew into their factory with a mission on my mind. I wanted to know if they could be interested in making chocolate with Bougainville cocoa. They were, and quickly got excited about the idea. Gabe visited Bougainville in July 2014, tasted their cocoa and met some pretty special people. He will write about his trip in an upcoming post.

We have learnt that Bougainville’s cocoa industry is about volume. There is no reward for high quality or unique fine flavours. And the farmers do not know what happens to their beans, other than when they are exported they are labelled as PNG cocoa not Bougainville cocoa. No local recognition.

We have developed a project with local cocoa legend James Rutana, to encourage a new market that will pay a premium price for good quality cocoa beans. WCF will work with James to improve the quality of the cocoa and foster fine quality flavour varietals, and then market the chocolate on the international stage as Bougainville cocoa and chocolate!

Growing a new market of fine quality, ethically traded cocoa will hopefully encouraging farmers to invest back into their own business because they now know more about the other end of the supply chain. It’s about partnership; good communication, mutual understanding and benefits, this way both businesses can grow together.

This is something I have been thinking about for a long time – connecting Bougainville cocoa with New Zealand Chocolate makers. I have seen a lot of initiatives that are big leaps into completely new territory. These are unsustainable and have resulted in frustration. This project will help grow an industry that the vast majority can participate in (and are – cocoa is everywhere!), develop a new market and thus expand the economic options available, put Bougainville cocoa on the map, and make yum “shared value” chocolate – what’s not to like?!

Here are a few of my favourite photos:

cute kids 1boat tripsister and friend      twinsjumping off wharfcabagesvillage 1dude      reef fishboat taxicool guys 3stickyepic view   beautiful villagegoing for a drive    going for a hike hitchiker

cool dudes 3   volcanoesunset 2

I hope you keep following this blog, enjoy hearing the stories and how they’re coming together into this fantastic project. It’s totally worth it.

The Wellington Chocolate Voyage is now live! Go to our Kickstarter page to become a backer, follow us on Facebook, and help spread the word!