Happy Chocolate

Our trend line for health-conscious connoisseurs - organic, environmentally conscious and Faritrade.
"Happy Chocolate" is intended to show how we take everyone involved in the production and ingredients
into account and make them "happy".

Happy Nuts

All of the hazelnuts in Happy Nuts chocolate are cultivated organically and
supplied by producers who are part of the Happy Hazelnut Project.

The Turkish Black Sea coast offers ideal climatic conditions for cultivating hazelnuts and more than two thirds of the global production comes from this region. Despite the quality of the Turkish hazelnuts, the problematic working conditions of the harvest workers and their families in the growing regions has been criticised. During the hazelnut harvesting season, the harvest workers and their families move from site to site to work on different plantations. As migrant workers, they often live in precarious tent camps where the children cannot go to school and instead accompany their parents on to the plantations. The aim of the Happy Hazelnut Project is to improve these conditions.

  • Transparency: hazelnuts can be traced back to the farmer

  • No child labour: children are supervised while parents are working

  • Working conditions: assurance of decent working conditions for harvest workers

  • Environmental protection: promoting organic farming and good agricultural practices

Transparent supply chain

A transparent supply chain of hazelnuts is a prerequisite for effective engagement. Project partner Işik Tarim in Turkey purchases hazelnuts directly from farmers and processes them at their own facility in Ormanli. During the harvest, a team of Işik Tarim agronomists supervises the farmers via mobile purchasing stations, monitors the quality of the nuts and coordinates the transport. The sacks of hazelnuts are labelled individually to ensure traceability. At the Işik Tarim factory, the hazelnuts are then cleaned, shelled and sorted by hand. Each delivery is processed separately.

Certified according to social and environmental standards

The farmers are certified in accordance with the Happy Hazelnut Standard that has been specially developed for the hazelnut production in Turkey. Strict conditions must be met, such as the provision of purpose-built accommodation for the harvest workers and a guarantee not to use child labour. Farmers receive a price premium for implementing these standards and must undergo annual audits by an external inspection body. The farmers must also be certified as organic and in accordance with the Rainforest Alliance. The comprehensive range of criteria set out in the Happy Hazelnut Standard governs social aspects relating to harvest workers. Tent camps are forbidden and the harvest workers are either housed in the Happy House or with Happy Hazelnut farmers. The accommodation that is provided must meet minimum standards for the sanitary and cooking facilities, and are checked at regular intervals.

Happy House and summer school

The hazelnut harvest in Turkey is very labour-intensive and is completed by many harvest workers who travel from other regions. Typically, these migrant workers live in improvised tent camps with their families during the harvest period, which can result in poor hygienic standards and child labour.
To counteract this, the Happy House with an integrated summer school for the children was built in 2014. In the peak season, around 60 people live here.
While the parents are working, the children are looked after and cared for by a trained teacher in the Happy House. In addition to regular meals, the children can do crafts, sing, play and dance. Children who live with their parents at hazelnut farms in the surrounding villages are brought to the Happy House every day.

Supporting farmers

The organic cultivation of hazelnuts is very labour-intensive and requires a lot of specialist knowledge. Hazelnut farmers are supported by agronomists throughout the year. A variety of support activities is provided in the field and at the tea house in the village. Farmers thus attend workshops to learn how different growing standards must be implemented, how they can optimally manage their plantations, or the agronomists can help them to complete the various certification documents. The main part of the production costs goes towards the salaries of the harvest workers and the procurement of organic fertilisers. These costs must be covered before the harvest. However, not all of the farmers have access to this money before the sale of the hazelnuts. This is why local project partner and hazelnut processing company Işik Tarim offers farmers a prefinancing payment to cover these costs. Following the harvest, this is repaid as part of settling the sale of the hazelnuts.

More information is available at:

www.happyhazelnut.ch

Happy Farmer 

The cocoa that was processed for this chocolate comes from Norandino –
a cooperative of smallholders in Peru. Norandino is certified as fairtrade and
organic and represents over 6000 cocoa, coffee, and sugarcane farmers,
of whom approximately 1650 are cocoa farmers.

Cocoa from Peru

The cooperative was founded in 1990 and thanks to fairtrade and long-term partnerships with chocolate manufacturers, such as Chocolat Stella, it has been able to develop into an empowered and independent organisation that is important to the region. Norandino enables smallholders to organise themselves so that they can produce high-quality cocoa and sell it at fair prices. The cooperative helps smallholders to optimise their growing methods and ensure they are sustainable.   
At Chocolat Stella we focus on fairtrade raw materials. We also maintain long-term relationships with farmer organisations responsible for growing cocoa and other essential ingredients for chocolate. 

Improved income and increased financial stability for smallholders

Smallholders who are members of a fairtrade cooperative have a higher and more stable level of income. This increases their savings enabling investments to be made into productivity and quality, which in turn has a positive impact on their income. The minimum price specified for many products as well as the fairtrade premium are important factors.


Self-determination and responsibility achieved by strengthening the organisation

Fairtrade sets out the association within a democratic structure. This helps to develop individual and organisational strengths. Producers can raise any concerns as part of open and democratic decision-making processes. Fairtrade smallholders are usually also part of a better network and have access to a comparably higher level of market information. This, along with the combined unified approach as a cooperative, strengthens the negotiating position and confidence of the farmers – in part to such an extent that in regions with a strong fairtrade presence even conventional trading partners have to adjust their purchasing conditions.


Protecting natural resources and promoting organic farming

The ecological requirements set out in the fairtrade standards improve the level of environmental protection. Training and better prices for organically cultivated products promote a corresponding shift towards organic farming.

We purchase our cocoa directly from smallholder cooperatives, most of which are based in Latin America. We maintain long-term partnerships with these cooperatives. These direct trade relationships with cocoa cooperatives reduce the number of intermediaries, thus ensuring that a higher proportion of the sales price goes directly to farmers. Direct partnerships with producers provide us with a more in-depth understanding of the local situation allowing us to support the work of the cooperatives in a variety of ways: Working conditions for farmers and the development of joint initiatives to improve farming practices and living conditions. 

Three questions for Santiago Paz, a co-founder of the Norandino cooperative:

  • What advantages does fairtrade certification offer the Norandino cooperative?
    Fairtrade is the only label that actually enables us to sell cocoa at a better and fairer price. For most other labels the price premium is only just enough to cover the certification costs and farmers ultimately do not benefit.

  • How has the cooperative developed over the last few years and what role has fairtrade played in this development?
    The Norandino cooperative combines coffee, cocoa and sugarcane farmers. Although initially it was only for coffee. When the price of coffee collapsed at the start of the 1990s, fairtrade was the only way to achieve a reasonable price for the product. This is because fairtrade guaranteed a minimum price even if the stock exchange price was below it. The first coffee farmers around Piura, where the headquarters of the cooperative is now based, thus joined forces to form a democratic organisation of producers. In 1994, we exported half a container of fairtrade and organically-certified coffee for the first time. Norandino started working with cocoa farmers from 2006 onwards. At first, we predominantly exported white cocoa from Piura that grows to the west of the Andes. Gradually, more and more cocoa farmers, who also produce cocoa to the east of the Andes, joined the cooperative. Nowadays we export around 200 containers of cocoa. Fairtrade produce has enabled us to always pay smallholders, who are part of the Norandino cooperatives, a reasonable price for cocoa, thus enabling our organisation to continuously grow. A few years ago, this enabled us to invest in a cocoa roasting facility and grinder to further increase the additional value cocoa can generate for the region.

  • What are the greatest challenges farmers and the Norandino cooperative are currently facing? 
    Exporting our products to Europe is becoming increasingly complicated. Especially the requirements relating to organic cocoa have become more stringent in recent years.
    While the production of organic cocoa is becoming increasingly challenging because of the climate crisis. On the one hand, problems caused by pests are increasing, while extreme weather conditions such as long drought periods and heavy rainfall are becoming more frequent. As there are often no organic crop protection agents against pests, the amount of work required at organic cocoa plantations is increasing considerably. However, this amount of work is difficult to combat, as the farmers can hardly afford to employ additional workers due to inflation. 
    In addition, the new legal requirements such as the new EU Regulation on Deforestation, supply chain laws and specific requirements relating to organically produced cocoa are becoming increasingly more stringent and are making it more difficult to export cocoa, especially to the EU. Many of these new requirements particularly entail more work for cocoa farmers without them being guaranteed to receive a fair price. As a result of climate change, current rates of inflation and the recession in our export regions organic cocoa does not receive a fair price that compensates for the efforts of the producers, and this does not encourage them to continue cultivating organic cocoa. Noandino thus has to do a lot of work convincing our farmers to continue to with organic farming. 

Happy Trees

The cocoa for this chocolate comes from Norandino a cooperative of
smallholders in Peru. We worked together to develop a project to promote
agroforestry farming systems.

Agroforestry systems offer a sustainable alternative to cocoa monoculture plantations. When applying this farming method, tropical rainforest trees, also known as shade trees, as well fruit trees and banana plants are cultivated next to the cocoa trees. This offers environmental, agronomic and social advantages. 

Environmental advantages

  • Carbon sequestration
  •  Increased bio-diversity
     

Agronomic advantages

  • Adaptation to climate change
  • Reduced pest pressure
  • Improved soil fertility
     

Social advantages

  • Promotes income diversification 
  • Offers food security

The "Cocoa, Trees & Co" project has three main objectives

  • Promoting cocoa agroforestry systems
  • Supporting farmers to implement environmental agricultural methods
  • Continuous improvement of the quality of cocoa
     

The following activities will be implemented with Norandino farmers in San Martin, Peru in 2024

  • Training farmers about cocoa agroforestry systems
  • Establishing nurseries to cultivate shade trees
  • Planting shade trees
  • Providing training on the production and use of organic fertilisers
  • Setting up production facilities for composted and low-tech liquid fertiliser 
  • Providing training on optimised post-harvesting processes
  • Expanding cocoa collection centres to optimise the quality of cocoa (fermentation and drying)