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We are starting the Valrhona Solidarity Fund so that our sustainability actions have a bigger impact. It will support public interest projects related to cacao and the gastronomy community.
The Valrhona corporate foundation was set up in 2006 to advocate for gastronomy. It has two missions: - Educate children and parents about the wide range of tastes and a healthy varied diet - Encourage young people to start careers in pastry-related gastronomic professions and help provide training opportunities.
In an effort to further the objectives of our Live Long CSR program, and more specifically the pillars of Live Long Cacao and Live Long Gastronomy, we decided to become more involved by creating the Valrhona Solidarity Fund. We plan to use this initiative to step up our current missions by making them permanent and expanding them to support communities of producers and the cacao industry in general, as well as the gastronomic industry and professions.
Want to learn more and join the cause?
As part of our CAMBIOS project on our El Pedregal plantation in Venezuela, we tested the impact of a rich ecosystem on the development of Porcelana cocoa trees between 2008 and 2011, in partnership with experts from the Jardin Botanique de Merida. Today, we are going even further with Cacao Forest, creating sustainable cultivation models through growing cocoa trees alongside other types of tree.
Today, the Cacao Forest team consists of CIRAD, Isara, Terra Isara, TFT, Valrhona, AlterEco, Weiss, and Révillon. We draw on our varied expertises to create new agricultural models in the cocoa sector. We are concentrating research on three major cocoa growing regions: the Caribbean (the Dominican Republic), South America (Peru), and Africa (Côte d’Ivoire, Cameroon and Madagascar). The project launched in the Dominican Republic in 2015. Activities will kick off in Peru in 2017.
In 2017, our sourcer Cédric Robin launched an initiative to improve access to education in Ghana, alongside our partner FEDCO. Seeing that there was a pressing need to support education in the region Cédric worked with FEDCO and local education representatives to develop a long-term solution. The result: a far-reaching project to reach eight communities over the next five years, including over 800 producers and 2500 children.
Our investments will go towards addressing the needs identified by the communities involved, including refurbishing school buildings and providing educational supplies. We’re already off to a good start: in 2017 we’ve built two new schools with FEDCO in the villages of Wassa Nkran and Pieso.
In 2017, the Paul Bocuse Foundation and Fondation Valrhona teamed up to start the Graines de Chef program to offer career opportunities in pastry-making to young people aged 16-25 who are struggling in school or undergoing a transition. The youths are selected at an orientation day and then provided four months of one-on-one support that helps them explore, experiment and experience the profession through field trips, pastry-making workshops and internships. After that, if they show a desire to continue and have found a training mentor, the youths are given support during their year-long vocational certification course (CAP).
The project is part of our Live Long Gastronomy program that provides career guidance. We are using our expertise in gastronomy to pass on our know-how to today’s artisans and inspire the pastry chefs of tomorrow. In 2017, we trained 10 budding pastry chefs: Six of them chose this path and are enrolled in a CAP pastry-making certification course. Our customers are helping by giving them internships.