by Hunter Pavlik (MBA ’13)
Note: Each of the participants in the Spring 2012 SVC Smith Experience was asked to blog about a session that piqued their interest at this year’s Social Enterprise Symposium.
Before Thursday night, my knowledge of the global cocoa industry was limited to the fact that the crop is grown in the tropics and in some of the poorest countries in the world. When I walked out of the Sustainable Chocolate Sourcing discussion I had gained a greater sense of the work that is being done at the local level by tens of thousand of farmers and what two exceptional start ups are doing to improve the lives of the farmers they work with.
The background of the cocoa industry was a great introduction by Robert Peck of the World Cocoa Foundation. However, it was the information that followed, mainly the personal stories shared by Tim McCollum of Madecasse Chocolate and Amanda White of Divine Chocolate that caught my attention and changed my view on the chocolate industry. I grew up eating Hershey’s and Mars’ products but had little exposure to small-market chocolate bars before the panel. Thanks to the stories of the Tim and Amanda my views and my likely future purchasing decisions have been changed.