Social enterprise can really make a difference, especially in the hands of an incredibly successful company. In 2011, organic chocolate company Green and Black’s are taking five individuals to the Dominican Republic to be part of the their continuing efforts to keep the communities that run their cocoa plants secure. Impact can exclusively reveal that one of these places will go to a Nottingham University student.
Many companies claim to give back to the communities which they rely on. Green and Black’s is one of them, however unlike others it has continuously maintained its dedication to ethical practices. Even their name comes not from a combination of the founders’ surnames but as a representation of their principles, Green for their commitment to environmentally friendly and organic measures and Black for the intensity of the chocolate they intend to produce.
The cocoa plants used to make their chocolate are grown by farmers in Belize and the Dominican Republic. Actions are made by the company in both countries to ensure the farmers and their families are provided for and receive a good and stable income. In Belize all the transactions go through the Toledo Cacao Growers Association (TCGA) which assures that each farmer gets a decent salary and guarantees their security. Farmers also receive technical advice and support, which allows them to sell higher quality organic cocoa beans and increase their income. The Dominican Republic has the second largest economy in the Caribbean and yet it has marked income inequality. To make sure they do not add to this inequality Green and Black’s only buy their produce at a premium which is considerably above the world market price. They have also set up the Community Development Programme (CDP) which helps the farmers to establish sustainable livelihoods and communities through agricultural and social programmes.
In 2011, from March the 26th to April the 9th, the CDP, in association with Raleigh International, are sending five individuals, one of whom will be a Nottingham University student, to a small village in the Dominican Republic to help set up a gravity-fed water system which allows a fresh, drinkable supply of free running water to the village. The successful candidates will also be taken on trips to experience the local area and take tours of some of the nearby cocoa plants. To be successful you must prove that you are enthusiastic, energetic and can bring a positive element to the expedition. Chosen candidates will have also needed to show that they have significant interest in ethical business practices. If you are interested and want to get involved visit the website at http://www.greenandblackscdp.co.uk/.
This is not only an amazing opportunity to travel and help make a difference, but it is also a chance to observe how a large company really can aid the communities that it relies on.