Fight poverty

November, 2022

Poverty is an extractive industry. It takes value from people, transfers it to others and disvalues the producers. The impoverished may dwell in makeshift shelters where there is pollution, insufficient sanitation, impure water and marginal schools – if any. They suffer constant economic stress and lack of healthcare. Most of the five million cacao farming families live under such extreme conditions and are powerless to change the system. Unsustainable resource exploitation (often deforestation) is a common denominator that keeps many afloat. 

In Ecuador, as an example, more than 30% of the land in nature reserves - five million plus hectares - is occupied by poor families struggling to survive. As a consequence, less than 4% of Ecuador’s coastal Chocó rainforests remain. Globally, this developing country scenario is a norm; its impact on people, biodiversity and climate change is massiv.

The other harm caused by chronic poverty is the insensitivity of those who have “no time to care” about such remote matters. But reversing the climate crisis cannot be done by one country, one culture or one demographic. The crisis, if it could speak, would tell us all that we have forgotten that we truly are a “we,” and nothing less than In 2020, Original Beans our joint effort is sufficient.

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Living income for cacao growers
Chocolate’s social problem isn’t slavery, but poverty. And most people’s apathy when it comes to paying more. Thirty thousand among millions of children working on the world’s cacao fields are reported to be forced. Each one is one too many. Meanwhile, virtually all of chocolate’s children work for a few hours every day on their families’ small plots.

For every 1% drop in cocoa income, the burden on more children to work more hours to make ends meet will rise by 0.7%. And cocoa prices have dropped for more than forty years. By Big Candy’s own estimate the cocoa farmers of West Africa should earn additional 10 billion US dollars (equal to 2.5% of total global chocolate revenues) per year to make a minimum “living income”. At Original Beans we wish for hardworking growers what we wish for our hardworking selves: decent income, security, learning and recognition. Additional opportunities for mothers will make a difference, too. Take Ecuador’s state’s defined minimum wage of $360 per month. Among the “Original Beans” Esmeraldas cacao farming families in the Mache Chindul nature reserve, each earns more than $300 per month from cacao. Original Beans pays an additional rainforest protection premium of $60 per month per family.
With additional income from wood production, Original Beans’ Esmeraldas growers earn well above Ecuador’s minimum wage of $360 per month.


Silky notes of caramel and salt float
through this chocolate from rare Arriba
cacao like a cloud forest’s mist in which
tree frogs bask.