March 27, 2010

Social Responsibility: One Tasty "Peace" at a Time

As I discussed in the previous blog entry, I had the pleasure of attending the Social Venture Capital/Social Enterprise Conference in Miami Beach, Florida. Among the approximately 110 panels during the three-day conference, there was a session titled “Women Social Entrepreneurs in Latin America,” featuring three successful entrepreneurs. One panelist, Sarah Endline, gave a presentation about sweetriot, a New York City-based company that retails natural cacao nibs sourced directly from Latin America. These cacao nibs or “peaces” are genetically modified organism-free, dairy-free, kosher, and gluten-free.

During her presentation, Ms. Endline’s stated that sweetriot is not focused on financial returns, per se, but her company is guided by a social mission that people can change the world. She explained that sweetriot’s social responsibility is composed of three key areas: Product, People, and Partnerships. In addition to using premium, high quality, and all-natural ingredients, the socially responsible company’s values include fair trade with developing countries, celebrating culture and diversity through their products, and creating sweet experiences among customers, partners, and employees. In Ms. Endline’s words, “sweetriot is a joyful celebration of culture, diversity, and understanding — it is the opposite of a civil riot, which is dangerous, violent, and oppressing.”

It is also worth noting that sweetriot is offsetting all of its employee travel and office emissions by partnering with Moreover, customers can join the effort by offsetting their shipment’s CO2 emissions by selecting an option through the ordering process that will make a $.50 contribution toward climate-friendly projects such as energy efficiency, renewable energy, and reforestation. “This effectively offsets the carbon dioxide emitted by delivery vehicles when shipping from our warehouse to your front door,” explains sweetriot’s website. Through the’s CarbonFree® Partner program, sweetriot claims to be “the first chocolate retailer to offer customers a chance to improve the world through carbon offsets.”

At the conclusion of the panel, Ms. Endline distributed samples of sweetriot’s flavor 50—roasted cacao nibs covered with 50 percent dark chocolate packed in one-ounce tins. The recyclable and reusable tins feature with works from various artists and my tin features the work of Callie Danae Hirsch, an artist residing in Brooklyn, New York. What about the taste? I find that the cacao nibs are tasty and with each tin holding a serving size of one once (or two spoons), I consumed mine very quickly. For disclosure purposes, except for the one complimentary tin, I am not receiving any compensation for this blog entry nor do I have a business relationship with sweetriot.

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