In this episode, various barriers to change in the cocoa and chocolate industry are discussed, including the prioritization of shareholder value, short-term thinking, extractive economics, and greenwashing. Host Clay Gordon suggests solutions such as regenerative agriculture, a focus on the triple bottom line, and the need for legal frameworks that prioritize long-term sustainability. Also acknowledged are cultural and political barriers that hinder change in different producing countries and emphasize the importance of considering the feelings attached to important decisions. Lastly, the video ends (as always) with a reminder for viewers to have fun while working with chocolate.
This episode of #TheChocolateLifeLIVE is a direct follow on to the previous episode where I asked members of TheChocolateLife and my LinkedIn communities to answer the following question:
“If there was just one change you could make to the way things are today in the worlds of cocoa and/or chocolate, what would that one change be, and why?”
For this episode I asked the following question:
“What do you think are the barriers to making the changes you and other respondents proposed?” Post in the comments, DM me, and/or send me a video.
I will be sharing the responses here and talking about them. I will, of course, be taking comments and questions during the live stream and members can always add their input in the comments.
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Update from Nick Saxby of Cocoa Runners (UK):
Just wanted to share that I think the fundamental route to making meaningful change in chocolate is through value. The barrier to that meaningful change is that chocolate is almost entirely thought of as a cheap, disposable snack material. Challenging that by making people more conscious of flavour, and more aware of the supply chain [I hope] will shift public perceptions of the value of cocoa and chocolate; shifting patterns of consumer behaviour and shifting the behaviour of actors in the mass-production cocoa sector to respond to the corresponding demand.
But the “barriers to change,” as I see it, are ultimately about the perceived value of cocoa and chocolate being disconnected from reality..
The first response on LinkedIn, from Shawn Askinosie:
The need to maintain shareholder value.
In response to: More. Money. To. Farmers.
What I was hoping for was responses that addressed some of the changes that were proposed from the people who proposed them as well as more nuanced discussions about the changes themselves:
Proposing a UBI? What are the barriers?
Trying to get more people interested in the issues? What are the barriers?
Want to make these issues mandatory instead of voluntary? What are the barriers?
I am not entirely certain why there was less engagement. It could be there was less time to respond and it could be the type of post that the question was asked in was different.
The Main Barrier I See
We live within a system that prioritizes extractive economics. I will go into more detail about what I mean in the live stream – but the parallel is extractive versus regenerative agriculture.