Ubud Raw goes beyond traditional chocolate....
...and together we're going beyond 'Zero Waste'.
There’s chocolate, and then there’s Ubud Raw chocolate. There’s zero waste, and then there’s using ecobricks to transcend waste all together.
For the last year, the Global Ecobrick Alliance has been developing a program to assist green-keen companies to not only transition from plastic, but to contribute directly to the removal of plastic from the biosphere. We are excited to announce this week, that Ubud Raw Chocolate Factory is our first official Bali based partner. Ubud Raw is a small company in Ubud, Bali, Indonesia that is renowned for its unique and astoundingly rich chocolate. To rave reviews, their product transcends archaic conceptions of chocolate making. The result of a new and proprietary process invented by founder Rolf Gibbs, their chocolate is made from raw cacao, instead of roasted cacao, and instead of regular milk, they use coconut milk. All their chocolate is produced locally and then distributed to cafes and restaurants, including their own two stores, in Bali.
“I had found a way to make my raw chocolate taste creamier and more delicious than traditional Swiss or Belgian chocolates.”
Last week, the entire staff of Ubud Raw took three hours off to learn about plastic and ecobricks. Senior GEA Trainers, Russell Maier and Ani Himawati, along with company founder and president, Rolf Gibbs, sat down for an Ecobrick Starter Workshop with their 18 person staff. The GEA workshop took everyone, from the manager to the chefs, to the shop keepers, into a learning dialogue about plastic. Illusions were dispelled as the origins of plastic, its properties, and especially its dangers were covered. The staff learned about the dire lack of solutions for plastic waste in Bali– and the world– and how lowering consumption of plastic is crucial. And of course, the staff learned about ecobricking.
Over the last month, in preparation for joining the Ecobrick Catalyst Program, Ubud Raw had been accumulating and calculating their plastic waste consumption and production. Olivia, the company manager, estimates that each month the company consumes 17kg of plastic (Styrofoam from butter shipments, plastic for cacao shipment bags, wrappers, etc.). Olivia also estimates that each month the company produces 15kg of plastic in the products that it sells and ships (the packaging for their raw cacao product, etc.).
We’ve found a way that companies can move on from the old idea of ‘zero waste’ and ‘eco-footprints’. We empower companies to move from minimizing harm, to maximizing their greening contribution.
After learning the best practices for ecobricking, the staff went ahead and started packing the plastic that the company had saved up. The staff had also brought along a plastic that they had been saving at home. They ecobricked this too. When plastic is packed into an ecobrick, it is effectively, trapped and captured. In the same way that a tree captures and sequesters CO2, so too can individuals and companies capture and ‘sequester’ (from the Latin ‘sequestrate’: to place in safekeeping).
After the workshop, each staff member logged their completed ecobrick on the GoBrik app. Through the app, the total plastic packed by Ubud Raw is tracked live. In total the staff were able to pack 4.5kgs of plastic! Of course, this is just the beginning. The staff are now equipped with the insights and skills to keep going.
As the staff return home and share ecobricking with their families and communities, even more plastic will get packed and diverted from the rivers and beaches of Bali. It is important to note, that this additional plastic is being packed as a direct consequence of Ubud Raw’s investment in the focusing and staff training towards plastic transition. Through our special Catalyst Program software, ecobricks that inspired by Ubud Raw and logged on GoBrik, are directly credited to the company.
As the next year unfolds, Ubud Raw aims to not only pack all of its produced and consumed plastic, but to inspire even more packing in the community. Eventually, Ubud Raw will find itself in a position that almost no other company can claim: they are sequestering more plastic than they produce! Their claim will be backed up by hard stats, photos and a ratio of plastic produced to plastic sequestered (what we are calling the Plastic Transition Ratio).
After the workshop, the staff returned home with blisters from the hard work and a new understanding of plastic. In their eyes, dumping, burning and recycling are no longer viable options. As they start packing their plastics into bottles, they will be asked many questions by their family and neighbours. Many more dialogues about plastic and its dangers will happen as they continue to pack plastic and work towards Ubud Raw’s first ecobrick projects.
Meanwhile, we’ll be joyfully watching as the plastic transition in Ubud is ignited by the shining personal examples of Ubud Raw and its staff.
“Chocolate is often seen as a guilty pleasure, both from a health standpoint, and also because of the miserable conditions of the workers at many third world cacao farms. Conversely, Ubud Raw chocolate is actually a healthy superfood, and our cacao is grown locally and organically by Balinese farmers who own their own land and set their own prices. And now, with our new collaboration with Ecobricks, we are also finally able to say that as a business, we will be taking more plastic out of the the biosphere than we are putting in. We want our customers to know that eating our excellent chocolate is a pleasure to enjoy without guilt. Proving that PURE pleasure is possible, without compromise.”
– Rolf Gibbs
The GEA Catalyst Program allows companies like Ubud Raw to not only take responsibility for their plastic, but to inspire and set an example to follow. Passion driven companies like Ubud Raw, where the priority is making great organic products, can be powerful catalysts for inspiration and transition in their communities.