It is with excitement and pride that we announce the plans to make our cocoa farmers in Ghana co-owners in fairafric, the business that makes all the sales of our proudly Made in Africa chocolate.
As some readers might know, fairafric is owned by 265 individuals at the moment. Main shareholders are the founders who decided early on that they want customers, employees and suppliers to be shareholders of the company. The key idea here is to be sustainable not only from a social and environmental perspective but from a financial one as well.
To that end we want to include our network in the financing of fairafric. Interest payments on loans don’t go to a bank and the future profits of a growing business should not go to large investors. We take enormous pride in the way we do business and want our customers and suppliers to be in the same boat with us, perfect alignment of interests.
While seeing the interest payments and (future) profits already going to our network (friends, customers, suppliers, long term supporters) and understanding that this alone is already an achievement by itself, we feel we are currently leaving out the most vulnerable stake holders we have, our cocoa farmers. Although close to 10 years of amazing work by our cocoa cooperative Yayra Glover (which is financed by organic premiums) has increased living standards massively, every additional dollar the people at the very beginning of our value chain receive goes a long way.
For that reason we have worked with tax and legal advisers to create a framework in which these farmers can benefit from the chocolate sales of fairafric. Since buying shares is not an option for farmers of course, we will start a foundation in Germany (where fairafric is registered) that holds share in fairafric on behalf of the farmers. The foundation will buy shares in fairafric. Any dividends these shares will ever make will be handed on to the farmers, according to the volumes of beans they have contributed to the chocolate production.
The official start of this project is the 28th of August 2018. On this day we will launch a Kickstarter campaign in which we collect funds to buy the initial shares in the company. In our latest equity raise the company had 285,790 shares, each was valued at €7.88. We have reserved a number of shares that can be bought for farmers at that price. The foundation will keep raising money in order to buy shares for farmers after the Kickstarter campaign and we have already lots of interest for donations, which are highly welcome.
Having our farmers co-own fairafric will motivate the whole team even more to spread the Made in Africa story and chocolate further. We are thrilled to make this next big step on our journey to bring the best and fairest chocolate possible to our customers.