GHANA – Koa, a Swiss-Ghanaian sustainable cocoa processing startup, has received the B-Corporation certification, marking a tremendous milestone in the company’s 5 years of operation since establishment of its innovative cocoa fruit venture.

B Corp certification is owned by B Lab and is only awarded to companies that demonstrate verifiable positive impact through policies and practices across five areas – governance, workers, community and suppliers, customers, and the environment.

The certification process examines a company’s entire operations and requires the business to make a legal commitment by changing its corporate governance approach to be accountable to all stakeholders.

Certified businesses must also exhibit transparency by allowing information about their performance measured against B Lab’s standards to be publicly available on their B Corp profile on B Lab’s website.

A company must achieve a minimum score of 80 points on the B Impact Assessment to be certified and repeat the verification process every three years.

Koa got a score of 95.7 points, joining a growing movement of around 6,000 Certified B Corporations from 158 industries across 86 countries, including companies like Ben & Jerry’s, Innocent Drinks and Valrhona.

“Nowadays, measuring the success of a company needs to go beyond pure financial performance. Since our inception, we measure our success on the triple bottom line: people, planet and profit.

“Being B Corp certified, we join a community of businesses around the world leading the transformation of the global economic system and we hope that many of our peers will follow our example,” Benjamin Kuschnik, Co-Founder and Group Finance Director of the Swiss-Ghanaian start-up, highlights.

Driving change

Founded in 2017, Koa is disrupting the cocoa industry through its innovative upcycling of the cocoa fruit by unlocking a new value chain around the so far discarded cocoa pulp.

Working closely with cocoa smallholders, Koa reduces on-farm food waste around the cocoa fruit, generates additional farmer income and creates new jobs in rural communities.

 At the same time, Koa brings unique new ingredients to the food and beverage industry for applications ranging from chocolate and confectionery to ice cream or drinks.

As a water-intensive sector, agriculture poses risks such as water stress or depletion of local water sources if water use is not appropriately managed.

Koa’s production process in the factory requires substantial amounts of water and energy for logistics, cooling and cleaning.

The company is therefore constantly improving the infrastructure to reduce resource usage such as investing in a rainwater harvesting system.

Besides environmental improvements, Koa is actively training its workforce for an international environment.

The start-up is committed to having more women and minorities in leadership positions since diversity is at the core of its business and the team aims to set an example beyond the sector it works in.

Lucy Muigai, CEO of the African B Lab certifying Koa says, “This is not only a win for Koa but a win for the B Corp movement. The recognition marks Koa’s continued investment in tackling poverty in the cocoa supply chain and strengthening rural communities through job creation.

“Koa joining the B Corp community signals a shift towards greater accountability and transparency in the cocoa sector.”

By receiving the certification, Koa becomes the first cocoa fruit brand to join the B Corp community and the third operations in Ghana.

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