November 16, 2022
Accra, Ghana – Koa receives recognition for its socially responsible business just five years after the establishment of its innovative cocoa fruit venture. The Swiss-Ghanaian start-up is excited to announce the successful B Corp Certification with a score of 95.7 points. As Koa is scaling its operations, the team pushes even further in improving and leading with positive change.
Koa has officially become a B Corp™, short for Certified B Corporation, using the power of business to address some of society’s greatest challenges. “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.
A rigorous review of Koa’s impact
By certifying their businesses, recognized B Corps step into a framework for continuous improvement. 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. The extensive assessment measures Koa’s ongoing impact on its workers, community and suppliers, customers, governance and the environment to make sure that the company is meeting high international standards of social and environ mental performance, accountability, and transparency.
As a B Corp, the start-up joins the growing movement of around 5,900 Certified B Corporations from 158 industries across 86 countries, including companies like Ben & Jerry’s, Innocent Drinks and Valrhona. The B Corp Certification is administered by B Lab™. Lucy Muigai, CEO of B Lab Africa 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.”
Founded in 2017, Koa is disrupting the cocoa industry through its innovative upcycling of the cocoa fruit. Koa is the first company in West Africa to have unlocked a new value chain around the so far discarded cocoa pulp and worldwide the first cocoa fruit brand to become a B Corp. 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.
Addressing opportunities for improvement
“We are proud to receive this certification, especially since we’re the third B Corp which has its major operations in Ghana, and we’ve been only five years in business,” says Francis Appiagyei-Poku, Finance and Administration Director at Koa in Ghana. “While we have proven to meet B Lab’s high standards, it’s still important to us that we strive for continuous improvement.”
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. Koa 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. Koa 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.
The Swiss-Ghanaian start-up Koa upcycles the pulp of the cocoa pod, thus reducing food waste and providing cocoa smallholders with an additional income. Today, 71 employees in Ghana and Switzer land dedicate themselves to the growth of Koa to boost value creation in the cocoa-growing regions and to develop innovative and pioneering processes. As a B Corp™, Koa incorporates its mission into its business activities to benefit people and the environment. With their natural cocoa fruit products, Koa brings a previously unknown taste to the market with new possibilities for the gastronomy and F&B industry.