From climate change to economic instability and inequality, the route from cocoa bean to bar and our indulgence in chocolate is fraught with challenges and controversies.
Our panel of chocolate experts from across the globe will discuss these challenges and the opportunities for a better future in chocolate production, consumption and the distribution of value. Learn more about the potential of chocolate and the role consumers can play and how your choices can directly impact the lives of others.
This event is delivered in partnership with York Cocoa House who believe that now, more than ever, we need to strive towards creating better chocolate. Chocolate is a luxury that cannot be fully enjoyed if it does not do good. The company opened York Cocoa Works in 2018 with a circular economy approach to the chocolate making process in the quest to create better chocolate for people and the planet.
Join us for a lively discussion and learn more about the people, communities and supply chains all working to explore the full potential of chocolate.
This event will take place live on Zoom Webinar. You’ll receive a link to join a couple of days before the event takes place and a reminder an hour before. During the event, you can ask questions via a Q&A function, but audience cameras and microphones will remain muted throughout.
Presented in collaboration with York Cocoa House.
About the speakers
Nick Davis started like many other small craft chocolate makers, producing bars as a hobby that he believed could become a business. The company that he started, One One Cacao, is based in Jamaica, though he himself was born and bred in Derby, UK. His parents left the island as part of the Windrush Generation in the 1960s and returned to the Caribbean in the 90s. A decade later Nick would be posted to Jamaica as a reporter with the BBC. As a foreign correspondent he was able to travel the region, but a story about sustainable cacao farming and chocolate making changed his life. An interview with Mott Green, one of the founders of The Grenada Chocolate Company, saw him take an interest in tree to bar chocolate and equality in the cacao value chain. Six years on from leaving journalism, Nick has a number of international awards for making chocolate and a successful agro-tourism business that teaches visitors about chocolate from seed to bar.
Paul Bup is a Co-Founder and Director of Fire Mountain Ltd, a luxury chocolate company specialising in single-origin chocolate made from cacao grown in Cameroon. He began combining a career in teaching Computer Science with crafting fine chocolate in 2020 and has never looked back. Born and raised in Cameroon, he grew up witnessing some unethical practices and is currently working directly with farmers to make a difference in their lives and the community in general.
Kathryn Sampeck is a Professor of Anthropology at Illinois State University, an Associate with the DuBois Research Institute at the Hutchins Center for African and African American Research at Harvard University, and a Board Member of the Fine Cacao and Chocolate Institute. She was a 2020-21 Fulbright Scholar at the Eccles Centre for American Studies at the British Library. A special focus of her archaeological and archival research is the cultural history of chocolate.
Sophie Jewett is the Founder and Managing Director of York Cocoa House, a chocolate manufacturing, retail and educational business based in York. Sophie works with a team of industry specialists who work with cocoa and chocolate making ingredients to craft speciality chocolate products for consumers, industrial and research partners. The York Cocoa Works is an openly accessible chocolate manufacturing facility with state of the art sourcing, research, manufacturing and analytical services for the cocoa and chocolate making sector. The facility supports growth, development and access to the supply chain for growers, chocolate makers, manufacturers, retailers and consumers with education, access to resources and technology. Sophie regularly presents and teaches across the cocoa and chocolate sectors, is a leading partner in the International Chocolate Awards and writes for a number of industrial publications.
Located along the sub-Sahara rainforest belt in Southwest region of Nigeria is Eti-Oni, a town in the State of Osun that takes pride in being the home to Nigeria's oldest cocoa plantation. The fertile land of Eti-Oni has made it possible for the region to produce cocoa since the first time it was introduced in 1896 by Gureje Thompson, the founder of the town over 130 years ago. Since then, cacao became one of Nigeria's major cash crops and a primary source of income for the region before the discovery of crude oil in the late 1950s. His Royal Majesty, Oba Dokun Thompson, currently leads the region as its monarch, bearing the title Oloni of Eti-Oni. A visionary in his own right, and as someone with deep ties to the cacao farming, HRM is working on the renaissance of the cocoa industry to transform into one that is productive and highly rewarding to the local community. This is achieved through different strategies and different kinds of approaches to ensure that everybody is involved in the entire process of achieving what needs to be achieved with cocoa production and, by extension, with the agriculture of other cash crops in Nigeria. Oba Dokun Thompson is the Chairman of Eti-Oni Development Group - which organises the annual Cocoa Festival and Eko Chocolate Show both in Nigeria - heads the National Organising Committee, Nigeria, for the biennial Global Cocoa of Excellence Award held at the Salon du Chocolat in Paris, France, and recently established International Cocoa Diplomacy to help bridge the gap between cocoa producing and chocolate consumption regions for shared value purposes.