Sustainable Farming: The Sweet Spot for the Hotel Chocolat.

By Goldman Sachs

Hotel Chocolat first opened in 2004 and has grown into a vast and lucrative chocolate empire with 125 shops and cafes, a hotel, and a school of chocolate. With a commitment to sustainable farming, as well as sustainable packaging, Hotel Chocolat aims to do more than just satisfy a sweet tooth. Angus Thirlwell, CEO and Co-Founder of Hotel Chocolat, discusses with Khamran Ali of Goldman Sachs UK Investment Banking Division why this approach is good for business, and for the planet.

Key takeaways:

  • Cocoa processing has led to massive deforestation, impacted biodiversity and impacted long-term prospects for farmers. 
  • Hotel Chocolat’s gentle farming program rewards farmers for planting shade trees, which is better for growing cocoa trees and helps promote biodiversity that counters the effects of global warming. 
  • By learning the farming techniques of African farmers, less has been extracted from the soil. While yield is slightly lower, the land and the ways of life for local farmers are being preserved. 
  • Beyond preserving the environment and local livelihoods, this sustainable approach has proven to be profitable. Hotel Chocolat has doubled in sales volume since launching.

Learning to grow cocoa with methods that balance respect for nature, enhancement of existing communities, sustainable packaging, and high yield—a philosophy they call “roots to wrappers”—has been a challenge. But by placing a high value on the long-term benefits of sustainability and a dedication to supporting the local business community, it has been one with a sweet ending for cocoa farmers, the owners of Hotel Chocolat, and chocolate lovers everywhere.

Listen to the full discussion here.

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United Capital Financial Advisers, LLC d/b/a Goldman Sachs Personal Financial Management (“GS PFM”) is a registered investment adviser and an affiliate of Goldman Sachs & Co. LLC and subsidiary of The Goldman Sachs Group, Inc., a worldwide, full-service investment banking, broker-dealer, asset management, and financial services organization.

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