This week, the RSPB launched a Gola Rainforest chocolate bar using cocoa from the rainforest in Sierra Leone. It is available online and in RSPB shops around the UK. Twin is working in collaboration with the RSPB and Gola Rainforest Conservation to support farmers organised in a producer organisation called Ngolegorbu to collectively export their cocoa to premium markets while preserving the rainforest. Cocoa beans are grown under the shade of forest trees in areas surrounding Sierra Leone’s Gola Rainforest National Park, where the RSPB has been working for over 30 years.

Twin’s role in the project is to assist in good agricultural practices that will improve quality and yields. We support the cooperative, Goleagorbu Cocoa Producers Organisation, with business management and technical expertise. We also provide essential international market access and logistical support.

The premium quality chocolate is handcrafted in Cornwall, England and made from cocoa lovingly grown in the depths of the incredible Gola rainforest, Sierra Leone. There are only two ingredients in this bar: cocoa beans and unrefined sugar. The 70% dark chocolate offers a rich, sumptuous experience - a tribute to the hard work put in to produce this bar.

RSPB Shop Gola chocolate jute 5
Photo courtesy of the RSPB.

In the past, commodities like cocoa have driven destructive deforestation, but the Gola Rainforest project has been collaborating with local partners on a sustainable management model. The cocoa is grown on sustainable, ethical and environmentally conscious farms, by communities living around the park. The park is a biodiversity hotspot that supports many endangered species including pygmy hippos, forest elephants and chimpanzees, as well as more than 300 bird and 600 butterfly species.

It is a big change for farmers to be part of a cooperatives that buys cocoa in an open and transparent way. Juma Koroma, a member farmer, notes "Before I joined, I sold my cocoa to traders and was never allowed to see the scales or get a receipt. Now I have been taught how to use scales, and I know how much I will get for my cocoa, and I trust who I am selling to."

Gola farmers manage the land in ways that benefit forest wildlife. The sale of these chocolate bars will help to build a profitable business. Twin works to help ensure farmers receive higher prices for their premium quality, single-origin cocoa - rewarding them for their role in protecting the rainforest and its unique biodiversity.

You can buy the chocolate here