Only one problem: Nobody could find any certified organic and fair-trade farms that produced some of those ingredients.
The solution: Get into the farming business. By 2008, Dr. Bronner’s owned a 200-employee fair-trade coconut-oil operation in Sri Lanka and a 150-employee palm-oil plant in Ghana, and had partnered on a peppermint-oil operation in India. Maybe the most audacious fair-trade project so far has been a partnership that combines olive oils from farmers in the West Bank and Israel, and has become a symbol of Israeli-Palestinian coexistence.
I nibbled on some raw cacao beans. There was a hint of greatness in them, but they were a long, long way from being chocolate. We had switched to a larger wooden boat, which included a trellis roof with a blue tarp to block the punishing sun. The tarp didn’t reach the back of the boat, so Dante had thrown a salted pig carcass—our meat for the next two days—over the top for shade. We had no radio or backup, and the outboard had no casing and a number of jury-rigged parts. I was impressed with everyone’s confidence in its ability to deliver us through three days of wilderness.