UPDATED ON: 15/03/2022
At Luker Chocolate, every day we set out and strive to grow based on our higher purpose: to make the world a better place, by helping other companies create purpose-driven products, using our chocolate as a tool for change. This future and change that we dream of begins in the cocoa-producing regions of Colombia, from where we grow the best Cacao Fino de Aroma. But we didn’t want to stop there. That’s why, a few years ago, we decided to put all our strength into the Colombian countryside to offer real solutions and full transparency. That’s where “The Chocolate Dream” was born.
The history of Colombia’s cocoa-growing regions
The challenge is enormous. In Colombia, cocoa is produced in 27 of the 32 departments, resulting in great geographical dispersion in terms of production and a number of barriers for producers and their families. In addition, Colombia’s main cocoa-growing regions have historically been zones of armed conflict, illegal mining, drug trafficking, etc.; and unfortunately, many still are today. Despite obstacles appearing time and again along the way, our dream is even greater. We know that we cannot do it alone and that the key to achieving our goal is teamwork. It is only through teamwork that we will be able to make “The Chocolate Dream” stop being just a dream.
In 2010, Luker Chocolate opted to grow its own cocoa crops to meet market demand for Cacao Fino de Aroma, triggering social and environmental development in the areas it reached. This initiated one of the first Chocolate Dream projects, after buying 550 hectares of the Finca El Rosario in Necocli, Antioquia.
What were lands traditionally used for livestock, became Luker’s first cocoa forest and the largest cultivation of Fino de Aroma varieties in the country. All are designed under an agroforestry system that allows the continuous harnessing and return of different animal and bird species.
The Cocoa, Forests and Peace initiative
A clear reflection of the union and joint efforts is the Cocoa, Forests and Peace initiative, a public-private project aimed at promoting zero-deforestation production models that favour the protection and restoration of forests in the cocoa supply chain, but also contribute to building peace in our country.
The initiative was born in March 2017 when the Declaration of Intent for the Global Cocoa and Forests Initiative was launched, led by the World Cocoa Foundation, The Sustainable Trade Initiative (IDH), non-profit organisations, and more than 35 private sector companies, who signed the macro agreements for joint action in Ghana and Ivory Coast, mainly. In July 2018, Colombia became the first country in Latin America and the third in the world to adhere to the initiative and sign its own agreement.
Luker Chocolate was the first private sector company to believe in and sign the Cocoa, Forests, and Peace initiative in Colombia. We participated in the planning and structuring of the action plan, which was officially launched in September 2019 in Bogotá. We decided to be part of this project because we know that the basis of everything we do lies in the cocoa-producing regions because that is our source of inspiration and the opportunity we have to transform communities.
This initiative set in motion a 10-year action plan, led by the ministries of Environment and Sustainable Development, Agriculture and Rural Development, the cocoa industry represented by Luker Chocolate and the National Federation of Cocoa Growers (Fedecacao), the Sustainable Trade Initiative (IDH), and the World Resources Institute (WRI), with the support of the World Cocoa Foundation.
It will be 10 years of working, shoulder to shoulder, in which we seek to achieve the following:
- 45 milestones in total (25 in the short term, 12 in the medium term, and 8 in the long term).
- 76 activities over 2 years.
- 51 management indicators for 2-year activities.
- More than 73 indicators will measure the information system.
- 5 major results by 2030:
Communication and transparency strategies.
- Zero deforestation cocoa production models.
- Financial instruments that consolidate cocoa models with zero deforestation.
- Monitoring, verification, and traceability systems.
- Strengthening of cocoa institutions for forests and peace.
The following new signatories will also join forces for the implementation phase: the Swiss Embassy (SECO), Climate Focus, Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), Organización Alisos, Rainforest Alliance, Lök Foods, Mariana Cocoa Export, The Nature Conservancy (TNC), WWF and the International Centre for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT).
The future of Colombia’s cocoa farming
Cocoa, Forests, and Peace is a very important milestone for cocoa farming in Colombia and everything behind it. It is the first major pact for the sustainable development of cocoa production in the country, made by the three sectors of the economy. This project is a very important contribution in the protection and conservation of all the natural wealth with which cocoa coexists. It will also transform the realities of the country’s cocoa farming families today, help overcome difficulties, and offer a better future for the Colombian countryside.