Submitted by: The Grenada Chocolate Factory
Implemented country: Grenada
Title: Grenada and the (Solar-Powered) Chocolate Factory
The cultivation of cocoa trees goes back to Mayan and Aztec cultures in what today is southern Mexico. The beans were turned into a strong and bitter brew referred to as “the nourishment of the gods”. The world’s richest cocoa beans grow in Grenada, especially because of the very fertile volcanic soils and the hot climate. In 1999, however, a different kind of chocolate factory was built in Grenada: The idea was to create a cooperative for cocoa farmers and chocolate manufacturers with the objective of revolutionizing the system by putting the traditionally disadvantaged cocoa farmers on an equal footing with the chocolate producers. And the cultivation process as well as the production process was to be sustainable. This balancing act was successfully managed by the Grenada Chocolate Company Ltd., a company that produces organic dark chocolate and has received many awards, among others the 2008 Academy of Chocolate Award and in 2011 the silver medal for the best dark chocolate.
The Grenada Chocolate Company Ltd. is located in the midst of a lush rainforest grove on a 150 acre lot. Before commissioning there was a number of hurdles to overcome: Developing a new production process and new equipment. Old equipment was revamped according to design styles from the early 1900s, a time when quality was more important than quantity. Electricity for running the machinery is derived directly from the sun via a solar power system with 6,920-watt deep-cycle batteries. Power from the grid is needed for charging the forklift’s battery. In addition, there is a propane gas generator in case of power failure or cloudy days. Chocolate production needs power around the clock.
The co-op has a lot of advantages: Cocoa is processed where it is harvested. The fermentation plant is only one mile down the road. The chocolate is 100 per cent certifiably organic. Neither pesticides nor chemicals are used. The cocoa butter for the chocolate comes from in-house production. Organic soy lecithin in very small quantities is used as emulsifier. The sugar is organic and comes from a co-op in Paraguay. The chocolate gets its fine vanilla flavor from Costa Rican vanilla beans. Another factory was opened on the premises: Bonbon Chocolates. Delicious bonbons made with fruit, nuts, and spices from home. And because environmental protection isn’t just a matter of lip service, chocolate transportation is a special event as well: The chocolate is shipped on a CO2-neutral sailboat to New York and England. A new shipment is on its way right now…
“Mixing the bitter with the sweet, smartly directed…”
The Grenada Chocolate Company Ltd