On November 10, a pallet of Valrhona chocolate left Dunkirk for New York aboard the Grain de Sail, a 78-foot commercial wind-powered sailing vessel. With this expedition, the French manufacturer, which celebrates its 100th anniversary this year and which is a B Corporation (a company that has been building a more inclusive and sustainable economy for all people and the planet) since 2020, wants to explore a cleaner route of transatlantic transport for their chocolates.
Grain de Sail was born in 2010 with the aim of sourcing raw materials from Latin America with low carbon emissions, thanks to a unique means of transport: the commercial sailboat. Two years after launching its first commercial vessel, the company has opened its holds to external clients and is expanding its offer with a low-carbon cargo service. His ambition is to deploy a fleet of “clean” ships connecting the continents. Shipping the pallet of chocolate beans to New York is a great opportunity to test this new mode of transportation on a small scale before rolling it out long-term.
Aware of the environmental, social, and economic challenges of its activity, Valrhona has been committed to reducing its environmental impact for many years. What’s more, it has set itself a goal for 2025 to reduce its footprint by 60%. And following the example of the commercial ship, Valrhona uses various alternative modes of transport: maritime, biofuels between its headquarters and Saint-Etienne, train to China… In major cities, they are currently testing last-mile delivery by bicycle.