Trading company CEO Emily Stone notes that the U.S. consumes about 3 billion pounds of chocolate per year, but she striving for consumers to think twice before buying a cheap chocolate bar.
“When we pay less than $2 for a chocolate bar, we are paying for the systemic poverty of millions of families,” Ms. Stone said Thursday during a presentation at the U.S. Institute of Peace.
Her company, Uncommon Cacao, works to decommoditize the cacao supply chain by training farmers in higher quality production, buying cacao directly from thousands of farmers and paying higher prices for better quality chocolate.
Ninety percent of farmers of cacao, the nut from which chocolate is produced, are locked in poverty, earning less that $2 a day, Ms. Stone said, adding that their average age is over 50 years old.
Ms. Stone was one of 16 entrepreneurs who presented their companies’ solutions for meeting sustainable development goals set by United Nations. Each entrepreneur was given four minutes to present his or her solution during Thursday’s event at the Institute of Peace.
The goals, which range from ending poverty to halting climate change by 2030, were developed by the United Nations, and 193 countries adopted them in 2015.
Unreasonable Group, a private holding company of for-profit enterprises that strive for social change, partnered with the State Department to bring the 16 entrepreneurs together as part of its annual Unreasonable Goals accelerator program.
Ms. Stone’s Uncommon Cacao was chosen an entrepreneurial solution that advances “Decent Work and Economic Growth” — the eighth sustainable goal.
Other companies working to achieve the goals:
• Babajob, a digital job marketplace for aspiring workers in India, for the No Poverty initiative.
• Agrinos, a scientific agricultural company to combat the problem of soil degradation, for the Zero Hunger initiative.
• 1mg, an Indian mobile health application to make health care accessible, for the Good Health and Well-Being initiative.
• Tamboro, an educational company using game-based platforms to teach social skills and basic education, for the Quality Education initiative.
• Liberty & Justice, Africa’s first Fair Trade certified apparel manufacturing company, for the Gender Equality initiative.
• Desalitech, a water startup that helps industrial users purify and save water, for the Clean Water and Sanitation initiative.
• Carnegie Clean Energy, a wave energy technology developer that offers wind, solar, wave and energy storage to off-grid communities, for the Affordable and Clean Energy initiative.
• SimpliPhi Power, an energy company that creates safe, on-demand power solutions and empowers individuals to access affordable power, for the Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure initiative.
• Voz, a fashion company that works to protect rural indigenous women’s rights, for the Reduced Inequalities initiative.
• EcoPost, a Kenyan-based waste company that turns plastic waste into environmentally friendly lumbar, for the Sustainable Cities and Communities initiative.
• OrganoClick, a Swedish clean technology company that develops, produces and markets materials based on environmentally friendly fiber chemistry, for the Responsible Consumption and Protection initiative.
• SEaB Energy, a manufacturer of micro waste that captures energy and converts it into electricity, heat, organic fertilizer and water, for the Climate Action initiative.
• Pelagic Data Systems, a business that recovers the health of the ocean through solar-powered tracking systems, for the Life Below Water initiative.
• EcoFlora Group, a technology company that offers clean alternatives to potentially contaminant biocides, develops natural ingredients for the food and cosmetics industries and develops green home care products, for the Life On Land initiative.
• Colab, a social network for citizens to connect with the government, for the Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions initiative.
Daniel Epstein, founder of Unreasonable Group, said that progress depends on unreasonable people.