Linking bean-to-bar to sustainable entrepreneurship
The increasing growth and recognition of bean-to-bar chocolate production have led to some people calling it a ”movement” or ”revolution”. The entrepreneurs championing bean-to-bar assert that their approach provides better and innovative services to both cocoa farmers (growers) and consumers. In essence, they are meaningfully contributing to the sustainable transformation of the cocoa industry. Furthermore, researchers agree that a concept that combines elements from both sustainability and entrepreneurship is called sustainable entrepreneurship. Therefore, are bean-to-bar chocolate producers sustainable entrepreneurs? In an attempt to answer this question, this thesis explores the links between bean-to-bar and sustainable entrepreneurship by focusing on three key areas; 1) motivations, 2) goals of the entrepreneurs and 3) the role of sustainability standards and certifications. It is a qualitative study and the data was collected through theme interviews. Purposive sampling was employed in choosing the respondents. The respondents represent eight bean-to-bar chocolate producers from eight countries and three continents. All the interviews took place online. The data was analyzed through thematic analysis. According to the research findings, some of the motivations of bean-to-bar chocolate producers are; work directly with farmers and their communities, save scarce cocoa varieties from extinction, pay farmers more, and increase the gross domestic product (GDP) of origin countries. Some of their goals are; invest in cocoa origin countries, make it possible for cocoa farmers to own shares in their factories, and promote good agricultural practices. All the respondents were critical of sustainability standards and certifications in the cocoa industry. Some of their perceptions are that; certifying their products will not necessarily be translated into economic benefits for farmers, standards and certifications focus solely on increasing farm yields, and that they pay farmers more than cocoa market price and certification premiums combined. The study concludes that; 1) individual bean-to-bar producers cannot yet be adjudged sustainable entrepreneurs and 2) sustainability standards and certifications play a limited role in the bean-to-bar sector. ...
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