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Equal Partner Program

Ensuring the highest ethical and environmental standards in GoMacro’s chocolate sourcing

Man working on cocoa beans that are drying in the sun

There’s nothing like the moment you bite into the rich, melty goodness of organic chocolate chips in one of our delicious MacroBars – and now you can feel even better knowing that the chocolate used was produced with the highest ethical and environmental standards!

We vet our suppliers carefully, and our Italian-based chocolate supplier, Agostoni Chocolate, is a great example of our responsible sourcing standards in action. Agostoni recently launched their Equal Partner Direct Buying Program, a sustainable business model that generates social, economic, and environmental benefits for the growers who supply their cocoa.

The ethical and environmental standards for the Equal Partner Program are even more robust than the requirements for Fair Trade Certification. So, while our chocolate will no longer carry the Fair Trade label, you can still enjoy MacroBars knowing that you’re helping support a better quality of life for the farmers in our supply chain.

All About Agostoni

If you love our Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip, Oatmeal Chocolate Chip, Double Chocolate + Peanut Butter Chips, Coconut + Almond Butter + Chocolate Chips, or any of our other fan-favorite, chocolate-y MacroBar flavors, you can thank Agostoni for those delicious vegan chocolate chips!

45 years ago, Dr. Angelo Agostoni began traveling the world in search of the perfect cocoa beans. He found that while it's easy to find average quality cocoa, it takes collaboration between farmers and industry to produce high quality cocoa products. He's spent decades in the field supporting farmers and cultivating long-term, mutually beneficial partnerships for sourcing high quality cocoa. This collaboration eventually grew into the Equal Partner Direct Buying Program, first implemented in the Dominican Republic, then in Peru, and now in Uganda.

We source our chocolate from their family-owned company that has been passionately crafting all-natural, artisan chocolate for over six decades. Agostoni sources cocoa beans from farms in Central America, South America, and Africa, that use environmentally-safe practices while supporting a better quality of life for farm communities. All Agostoni chocolate and cocoa products are non-GMO and organic.

What the Equal Partner Program Means

The equal partner program means all cocoa used in GoMacro’s organic chocolate chips was sourced with care for the planet and the people who grew it. Benefits for the cocoa farmers include:

  • Guaranteed fair market prices and long-term contracts for economic security
  • Better standard of living for farming communities as guaranteed business and premium price allows co-op communities to build schools, health clinics, and expand social programs
  • Financial support for effective business development such as organic certification and the creation of cocoa collection centers
  • Training to improve crop yields through sustainable means
  • Centralized collection centers and training on proper fermentation and processing techniques to improve quality, which boosts profits
  • Equipment for farmers to improve efficiency
  • Future farmer programs inspiring younger generations to take up cocoa farming
  • The Program in Action: Direct Buying in Peru

    So what do these initiatives look like in practice? Here’s an example from a community in the San Martin region of Central Peru.

    Agostoni has built a relationship with a cacao farming community of over 2,000 families in the region where growing cocoa has become a legal alternative to participating in the drug trade.

    With the Equal Partner Program, farmers in the community receive botanical expertise, which has allowed them to expand to 15,000 acres of organically-farmed cacao. By promoting the use of shade grown cocoa, fewer chemical inputs are required which allows for intercropping, and protects soil and local wildlife.

    The farmers have access to a full-time quality and fermentation expert, and long-term supply contracts have improved economic conditions, allowing the farmers’ cooperative to secure bank credit for future needs.

    The Darker Side of Chocolate

    You might be wondering - “Why is this so important? Why all the focus on chocolate?” While it’s important to us to source all our ingredients responsibly, it’s even more important when it comes to the cocoa industry.

    90% of cocoa is produced on small family farms, and because cocoa has become commoditized, these small growers are often powerless to charge a fair price for their product - most of which is exported to Western countries. That means most of the workers live below the poverty line, and slave and child labor are widespread issues in the hazardous industry. In addition, many conventional cocoa growers utilize slash-and-burn techniques to clear rainforest land for growing cacao trees, and synthetic pesticides and fertilizers are used widely to increase yield. These practices are not only environmental issues, but also mean workers are exposed frequently to dangerous chemicals.

    That’s why it’s so important to GoMacro and Agostoni to do our part in creating a more environmentally and economically sustainable supply chain.

    A Sweeter Way to Snack

    After learning more about the Equal Partner program, we’re excited for you to enjoy your next bar with a closer connection to those who farmed and produced our ingredients. Read more about Agostoni's sustainability strategies and about GoMacro’s Responsible Sourcing practices.

    Shop our certified Organic, Vegan, and Gluten-Free MacroBars.