I never imagined Charles and I would be running a chocolate company in our retirement. However a love of chocolate (particularly on my part) combined with the need to let people know about the plight of children working as slaves on cocoa plantations in western Africa, has brought us to this interesting and fulfilling career change.
Like Charles, my background is medical. I was a nurse in London and that was how we met. It has been a steep learning curve for both of us learning how to set up and run a business and do it in a a way that matches our values.
As a mother of two children, I cannot help but compare all the love and care Charles and I were able to give them with the lives of those children trafficked and forced to work as slaves on the cocoa plantations. I think of the desperation of the mothers who have lost their children, and the plight of their children, forced to work in dangerous and grueling conditions far from home.
An important part of our business is letting people know about child slavery in the cocoa industry so that they can avoid supporting this practice by not buying the products of major chocolate manufacturers, almost all of whom use west African cocoa.
As former healthcare professionals we are extremely concerned about environmental issues. According to the UN, climate change is the greatest current threat to health. Not only is it crucial to us that we minimize our environmental impact but that we actively contribute to restoring the environment.
Having permanent access to delicious chocolate is wonderful for a chocoholic like me! It can be very hard work at times but what sustains me is that we can hopefully play some part in addressing the ethical and environment aspects involved in chocolate production. To be honest, if it was just about making money I would probably have given up by now as it wouldn’t be worth the effort!