In most cocoa areas, access to affordable healthcare is limited, and sustainable impact-driven projects are the exception, often lacking scalability. Farmers are motivated to join this project because they have both 1) healthcare access and 2) long-term financial planning.
With new ESG laws approaching and ethical consumerism on the rise, chocolate manufacturers need to improve supply chain transparency through sharing real-time data on socio-economic, health, and environmental indicators.
We created a sustainable win-win-win along the cocoa supply chain:
Starting point were the 2 criteria are often underestimated but we believe them to be very important: Motivation of the farmer and real sustainability (also financially). The underlying question is: Do both, farmers and customers, benefit from it and does it add long-term value?
Other criteria were:
In Madagascar, where we launched the project, health-care access is now possible for 860 farmer families (2.200 people), and 3700 treatments have been administered since September. The cooperative has received 400 demands from new farmers wanting to enter the cooperative due to the health coverage scheme.
The project sustains itself without much input from Felchlin and partners. In return, Felchlin and partners benefit from the direct connection with the farmers and can monitor project impact and development via a real-time dashboard. As a by-product, socio-economic and environmental data is produced and can be used to implement need-targeted impact projects.
The project works because it was initiated by the needs of the farmers while considering the needs of the customers. Initial implementation costs were supported by SWISSCO, and long-term financing is secured through strong support and collaboration of the cooperative, the exporter, and our customers. The project is now already financed for the next 6 years. It is not philanthropy but a common project between equal partners: Farmers contribute as well and pay around 10% of the insurance premiums in form of physical cocoa deliveries. In future, the co-pay will increase and be directly paid from their mobile health wallet.
We are currently implementing the next project in Ghana and Elucid is now onboarding more than 8000 beneficiaries until the end of April ‘22 - in short, anyone can do it if the cooperative and farmers are on board. I believe this project can work across the industry and value chain due to the following reasons:
Also, I believe it is a great chance for certification companies to create a sustainable measurable impact by allowing cocoa premiums to flow directly into healthcare and context-specific livelihood projects.
This project has been supported by SWISSCO small grant facility co-financed by SECO.