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UN Sustainable Development Goal

15
Life on Land

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United States

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  • Nurete Brenner
    Nurete Brenner This company is inspiring in that it has exhibited social-consciousness on every level of the business: from suppliers and production, through to marketing and customers and community. I think it is highly scalable in the sense that other companies can learn...  more
    November 11, 2016
  • Beau Daane
    Beau Daane Love the direct connection to the farmers producing the cocoa. Talk about understanding your supply chain. Wonder how scale would impact relationships (you can't know all your farmers when you reach a certain point); and how do you guarantee sustainable...  more
    November 11, 2016

It's About the Chocolate

Date published: 11 Nov 2016
Springfield, MO, United States     0 likes   2

Overview

Askinosie Chocolate is a small, family-owned and operated chocolate business located in Springfield, Missouri. The company has dedicated itself to supporting fair and equitable relationships with its suppliers, local employees, and customers.

The Askinosie Chocolate business model focuses on Direct Trade and Profit Sharing with the farmers who supply the cocoa beans to Askinosie Chocolate. They also strive to provide outreach in the communities where they receive their cocoa bean supplies from.

 

 

 

 

 

innovation photo

Innovation

Askinosie Chocolate obtains its cocoa beans directly from four locations: Davao, Philippines, Mababu, Tanzania, Cortes, Honduras, and San Jose del Tambo, Ecuador. By dealing directly with the cocoa farmers Askinosie Chocolate is certain their cocoa beans are of the highest quality. The farmers use organic pesticide and chemical-free practices to grow and distribute their cocoa to Askinosie Chocolate. Owner, Shawn Askinosie, travels frequently to all four locations to see first-hand where the cocoa is coming from and assists in the harvesting process when he is there.

In the Philippines, Askinosie Chocolate collaborates with Malagos Elementary school to provide a Sustainable Lunch Program for their students. In order to do this, Askinosie purchases a special hot chocolate, made by the school’s PTA, called Tableya. The company sells the hot chocolate in its store and online, and gives 100% of the profits back to the PTA at Malagos. The PTA uses these profits to purchase local food and provide lunches for the 800 students at the school.

In Tanzania, Askinosie Chocolate seizes the opportunity to benefit from the Direct Trade relationship with suppliers by connecting local high school students from Springfield, Missouri with the Mwaya Secondary School in Tanzania. Students from Missouri travel to Tanzania to learn about small business, entrepreneurship, and Direct Trade. The students learn about the culture of the people in Tanzania, and help in the process of farming the coca beans while they are there. Askinosie Chocolate also contributes to a number of outreach projects in Tanzania. They have provided funding for textbooks, technology software, and also support a Sustainable Lunch Program at Mwaya too. For this program, Askinosie Chocolate purchases and sells a special, sweet rice called Kyela Rice, cultivated by the PTA at the school in Tanzania. Askinosie Chocolate then returns 100% of the profits back to the PTA at Mwaya to provide lunches for about 1,100 students at the secondary school.

In addition to Askinosie Chocolate’s Direct Trade business model, they also participate in Profit Sharing with each of the farmers who supply the cocoa beans to them. On their website, Shawn Askinosie says, “We’ve formed connections by traveling to each country of origin — Ecuador, Honduras, Tanzania and the Philippines — to meet the farmers face to face. We purchase our beans above the Fair Trade market price, then after those beans have been crafted into Askinosie Chocolate bars, we venture back again to meet with the farmers and share profits from the chocolate made from their farm’s cocoa beans.” (https://www.askinosie.com/learn/a-stake-in-the-outcome.html)

Overall impact

The impact that Askinosie Chocolate’s business model delivers to the business itself is the positive, mutual respect they have created between local employees as well as with their international suppliers. By Askinosie Chocolate treating their suppliers as they would their own local employees, they are guaranteed quality cocoa beans for their chocolate. Additionally, the company has created a platform for a more fair and equitable approach to working with farmers so that they too can achieve a higher standard of living and a higher quality of life.

 

 

Inspiration

When interviewed, John Taylor, the Chief Operating Officer at Askinosie Chocolate, explained that Shawn Askinosie’s ideals of Direct Trade and Profit Sharing stemmed from a book titled, “A Stake in the Outcome” by Jack Stack. The book focuses on the employer-employee relationship and how it can be strengthened to improve performance. Shawn Askinosie takes that a step further to extend the concepts out to his suppliers who grow the cocoa beans. He removes the chain of farmer-buyer-trader-shipper-inventory holder-chocolate manufacturer by removing said supply chain. By participating in Direct Trade and Profit Sharing, Askinosie Chocolate is able to treat their suppliers just as they would their employees.

Business benefit

The impact of economic cooperation between the chocolate company and the cocoa bean suppliers creates a new way for businesses to compete rather than a simple concern with the bottom line. By cutting out the middlemen, Askinosie Chocolate is providing a greater opportunity for higher quality product which directly correlates to higher sales, which, in turn goes back to the farmers through Profit Sharing. They are fundamentally changing the terms of economic activity in the world.

Social and environmental benefit

The social impact Askinosie Chocolate’s business model delivers are the increased learning opportunities not only for local employees, but also for local students as well as the farmers, students, and communities in the countries where the cocoa beans originate. Askinosie Chocolate’s business model provides inspiration to students to provide outreach and learn more about other cultures. They also present the opportunity for foreign cocoa farmers to gain confidence in their work and share that with other farmers in their area, creating a higher standard of product and service overall.

Environmentally, Askinosie Chocolate’s business model provides the farmers with the ability to grow and produce their cocoa chemically-free with organic pesticides, which in turn provides Askinosie Chocolate with higher quality ingredients for their chocolate. Since the supply chain has been removed from the trade of the product, there are fewer environmental costs with regard to transporting and storing the cocoa as well.

Interview(s)

John Taylor, Chief Operating Officer

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2 comments
  • Nurete Brenner
    Nurete Brenner This company is inspiring in that it has exhibited social-consciousness on every level of the business: from suppliers and production, through to marketing and customers and community. I think it is highly scalable in the sense that other companies can learn...  more
    November 11, 2016
  • Beau Daane
    Beau Daane Love the direct connection to the farmers producing the cocoa. Talk about understanding your supply chain. Wonder how scale would impact relationships (you can't know all your farmers when you reach a certain point); and how do you guarantee sustainable...  more
    November 11, 2016