We have been involved in cocoa sustainability programs for many years, and the system has evolved markedly over that time. Certification has been an essential first step in raising awareness of the challenges all players in the supply chain face in protecting the environment, their workers, products and customers. But it is time-consuming, expensive, open to manipulation, and farmers rarely see the benefits.

Corridgeree is in the process of mapping all the farms we source from, using Primary Commodity Research’s CC1 Collect System. We will also gather information on farmer activities, inputs and incomes as our business develops. Our program will start with information that helps farmers raise their incomes and protect the environment, and from there evolve to providing customers with confidence that their products were grown safely and sustainably. It is a long process and entirely self-funded, but crucial to protecting the supply chain. Stay tuned for more as we turn data into information, into insights and into action.

What have we learned so far?

  • Plans, presentations and pitch decks are easy. Execution is hard.
  • Getting to scale is hard. As part of the Missing Middle of agricultural enterprises, we sit between small scale farmers and large farming enterprises.
  • There is no playbook to get to scale, rather it is taking a series of carefully considered bets, avoiding distractions and focusing on long term goals.
  • It’s all about the people and systems. Find good people, train them, learn from them, then get out of their way. Build self-reinforcing systems to reduce rework.
  • Mistakes are part of the process. Learn from them and move on quickly.
  • And learning is lifelong.