UN launches its own chocolate bar to combat farmer poverty

By Anthony Myers

- Last updated on GMT

The UN's 'Other Bar', introduced to help fight farmer poverty. Pic: UN
The UN's 'Other Bar', introduced to help fight farmer poverty. Pic: UN

Related tags Sustainability Cocoa UN

#RadicalEquality campaign sees ‘The Other Bar’ allowing consumers the choice to invest in cocoa farmers’ livelihoods and make a direct impact on poverty.

The United Nations Development Programme​ and the FairChain Foundation​ have announced they are producing “a new chocolate bar that challenges consumers to take direct action against poverty​.”

Launching on October 14, The Other Bar​ is a world-first chocolate bar and part of a social experiment aiming to pioneer a new way of doing business with developing-world producers, who the two organizations claim, 'typically get a raw deal from western corporations'.

At present, the UN says that farmers only receive 3% of the value of the cocoa used to make the chocolate sold in shops, which leads to the majority of cocoa farmers not earning living incomes. The Other Bar claims to ensure 'farmers are paid prices that meet real income needs — and they receive it faster'. 

Digital code

Each bar of chocolate has a digital code, which the consumer can choose to donate back to the farmers and communities who produced the cocoa. By simply buying The Other Bar, consumers can invest directly in the cocoa community or use it for a discount on their next purchase. “It’s entirely the consumers’ choice​,” said the UN.

Each token is worth the equivalent of a quarter of a tree, so four purchases of The Other Bar could see a whole tree being replanted in Ecuador, which would help maintain the Ecuadorian Amazon and prevent deforestation, while increasing the earning potential of the cocoa farmers.

Carlo Ruiz, the head of UNDP Inclusive Economic Development Unit in Ecuador, said: “We advocate for change to help people build a better life for themselves, so wanted this experiment to put the power to make an active impact directly into consumers hands. By buying The Other Bar, releasing the token and investing it in the cocoa farmers and communities, equality-conscious consumers can encourage global chocolate brands to follow their lead and adopt a better, fairer way of doing business with producers everywhere​."

Ecuadorian cocoa

Available in milk or dark chocolate, The Other Bar contains a high concentration of pure Ecuadorian cocoa, the preferred choice of premium chocolatiers and chefs worldwide.

Guido van Staveren, founder of the FairChain Foundation, which developed the digital technology for The Other Bar tokens, said: “The global chocolate market is worth more than £80bn ($98bn), yet most of the cocoa in Ecuador is still produced by small or family growers who live below the poverty line. Globally, big chocolate brands spend millions on marketing, but imagine if just 5% of that money was spent on eradicating poverty? Our experiment with UNDP is giving consumers the opportunity to send that message to the big chocolate corporations. If this experiment is a success, then it will confirm that consumers want a higher percentage of the profits to go back to the cocoa communities, which should surely push those chocolate brands to mobilise that trade practice​.”

A limited edition of only 20,000 bars, priced at £2.99 ($3.69) each, will go on sale online at on 14 October 2019. 

1 comment

Good initiative, but more than 50% of cocoa farmers still poor


If the un can make review the price pay to the farmer, it will be great. If the UN can help farmers selling themselves, without been robed by middlemen, it will be better.
FAGRIB CAMEROON SUSTAINABLE COCOA PROGRAM preparing the extension from Cameroon to CAR, CONGO, GABON and DRC. Partnership is open. This is a farmer's to farmer's initiative in Central Africa. Growing cocoa under the trees.

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