On November 10th, a pallet of Valrhona chocolate left Dunkirk for New York aboard the Grain de Sail, a 78 feet commercial sailboat powered by green energy: the wind.
With this expedition, the French chocolate manufacturer that is celebrating its 100th year anniversary this year and has been a B Corporation since 2020 is excited to explore a new, cleaner way of transatlantic transportation for its chocolates.
Valrhona’s mission is to encourage a collective movement that brings together all the players in the cocoa, chocolate and gastronomy industries to move the lines towards a fair and sustainable cocoa industry. It is this strong conviction and the desire to promote more virtuous modes of transport that led Valrhona to embark on a full-scale test of carbon-free maritime transport with its colleague: Grain de Sail.
The Grain de Sail adventure was born in 2010 with the objective of sourcing raw materials from Latin America with low carbon emissions, thanks to a unique means of transport: the commercial sailboat. Two years after the launch of its first commercial ship, the company has opened its holds to external clients and is expanding its offer with a low-carbon freight service. Its ambition is to deploy a fleet of “clean” ships connecting the continents. The shipment of their pallet of chocolate beans to New York is a great opportunity to test this new means of transport on a small scale before implementing it on a long-term basis.
Aware of the environmental, social and economic challenges of their activity, Valrhona has been committed for many years to reducing its environmental impact. By 2025, they aim to reduce their footprint by 60%. This ambitious objective pushes them to better control resources and energy consumption and to create a virtuous ecosystem of partners and stakeholders.
Among the actions taken to limit their ecological footprint, they are committed to the energy transition of their entire supply chain. Throughout its supply chain and more broadly, Valrhona works daily to reduce the environmental impact of its activities The supply chain covers the various stages from the customer’s order to its delivery. It integrates functions related to planning, inventory management, logistics, transport management and customer service. From the purchase of raw materials to the delivery of the order to the customer, the supply chain occupies a strategic place in the value creation chain of their company.
The Supply Chain at Valrhona integrates customers and CSR at the heart of its strategy. Following the example of the commercial ship, Valrhona uses various alternative modes of transport: maritime transport, use of biofuels between their headquarters and Saint-Etienne, Paris and Spain, transport by train to China… In major cities, they are currently testing last-mile delivery by bicycle. This test has been underway in Paris for three months and will soon be deployed in other cities in France.
As a partner to pastry professionals since 1922 and a pioneer in the world of chocolate, Valrhona imagines the best of chocolate by working tirelessly to perfect its expertise, pushing the creative boundaries with a constantly growing aromatic palette and inventing the next revolution in the world of chocolate.
Founded as a small chocolate manufacturer in the French village of Tain l’Hermitage, Valrhona oversees every aspect of its chocolate’s sustainable sourcing in more than 30 terroirs and 20 origins.
With its employees, chefs and cacao producers, Valrhona works to create a just and sustainable cocoa sector and to inspire pastry that is delicious and cutting-edge. Building direct and long-term relationships with producers, searching for the next innovations in chocolate, and sharing expertise all bring Valrhona’s missions to life on a daily basis.
Valrhona supports chefs by sharing the artisanal expertise of the company’s L’École Valrhona pastry chefs and by continuously pushing the limits of creativity, helping chefs to find their individual style and voice in the culinary industry.
In 2020, Valrhona earned the demanding B Corporation® certification, which distinguishes the most committed companies in the world who consider social and environmental impact equal to economic performance.