Butlers Chocolates + Cocoa Horizons

Butlers Chocolates is a member of Cocoa Horizons, a programme which seeks to improve the livelihoods of cocoa farmers and their communities through the promotion of sustainable, entrepreneurial farming, improved productivity, and community development. These activities lead to a stronger, more sustainable cocoa supply chain by improving the livelihood of cocoa farmers, their families and their communities.

Cocoa is typically produced by smallholder farmers in remote equatorial areas. Most of the world’s cocoa comes from West Africa, which is where we source our own raw materials. However, West Africa faces the industry’s most vital sustainability challenges including limited knowledge of good agricultural practices, ageing farms and depleted soil, limited access to education, medical facilities and safe drinking water and lack of financing options, infrastructure, and transportation.

Cocoa Horizons helps to create thriving communities by training farmers - enabling them to grow cocoa sustainably and responsibly, increase yields and improve farmer family livelihood and by paying a farmer premium, directly increasing income so that farmers can invest in their farms and communities. 

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The Butlers Chocolates Cocoa Horizons Project 

We are working with Cocoa Horizons on a specific project, the aim of which is to foster new opportunities for women to earn a better living, by teaching them how to set up and manage a farm. Experience has shown that women and their families flourish from cultivating other food crops alongside cocoa trees.

Butlers Chocolates and the Cocoa Horizons Foundation have joined forces to help fund the training of lead women farmers to coach and support small groups of farmers, to buy seedlings and tools, and pay for the supervision of this process.

As the women wait for the first fruit of their cocoa trees, they use the same land to grow other food crops for their families and to source timber for fuel. This also maintains their ownership rights of the land. In the long run, they will earn a steady income from selling cocoa from the farm. 

In late November 2017, our Chairman visited the region to meet and spend time with the women directly involved in our project, which runs for 3 years (2018 – 2020). The project takes place in the Fromager region of the Ivory Coast. The farmer group is called COOFRAO located in OURAGAHIO. The farmer group consists of around 291 farmers of which around 10 are female farmers.
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Across all levels in the organisation we strive to minimise our impact on the environment and improve our processes all the time, as we carry out our day to day activities and grow our business further. We are always thinking about the future. We are dedicated to challenging the issues of sustainability, reducing energy inputs, minimising the carbon footprint and lessening our impact on the environment. We care about our customers, and that is why we’re proud to be a verified member of Origin Green - a collective drive towards of sustainability that will protect Ireland’s natural resources, and benefit all our communities in the future.

Butlers Chocolates is a fully verified member of Origin Green – the world’s first national sustainability programme. Under Origin Green, we set annual targets that are independently measured and verified every year. Butlers has chosen to focus on 3 key areas The three key areas that frame our thinking about sustainability are Sourcing, Emissions and CSR.

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Fairtrade Coffee

The coffee we use in Butlers Chocolate Cafés is Fairtrade certified and our coffee beans are sourced from Brazil, Honduras, Sumatra and Colombia.

Fairtrade is a global movement connecting over 1.4 million small farmers and communities in developing countries across the globe. Fairtrade farmers are guaranteed to receive at least the Fairtrade price for their coffee to cover their costs and have a margin of safety when market prices fall below a sustainable level. Farmers also receive a Fairtrade premium which they, in turn, use to; enhance productivity and the quality of the coffee by investing in better crop growing techniques and production and invest in community projects.   

Paper Cups

From late May 2018, Butlers Chocolate Café introduced a 100% recyclable paper cup across its stores. These cups are sourced and printed in Ireland.

Reusable Cups

Butlers Chocolate Café actively encourages the use of reusable cups and offer our customers a 10 cent discount on the presentation of a clean reusable cup. We also have a Butlers KeepCup for sale through our network of Butlers Chocolate Cafés and we offer all customers a complimentary beverage with the purchase of a KeepCup. We are a member of the Conscious Cup campaign.

The Environment

Sweet Sunshine - Solar Panel Project

2017 was a momentous year for the company in terms of electricity initiatives. We have installed the largest solar panel system on an industrial unit in the Republic of Ireland on the roof of our factory.

The installation covers approximately 2,850 square meters or 28,500 square feet which generate over 350,000 kWh of electricity. The Solar Panels will provide 14% of our annual electricity needs – that’s the amount of electricity needed to make 2.5 million chocolate bars.


Our solar panel installation will save the equivalent of approximately 195 tonnes of C02 emissions per annum. Since we began our Origin Green journey, we have decreased our carbon emissions in excess of 10%. Given that the company has enjoyed growth in terms of tonnes of chocolate produced and expansion in the physical size of the factory, this is a considerable achievement. A combined heat and power unit (CHP) was installed which has had a positive impact on energy usage. In addition, various lighting projects have been undertaken to reduce energy used.

Water Conservation

Water conservation is an important tenet of our sustainability plan. We have installed new valves and taps among other things which have led to a 15% reduction in water usage (at a time when overall output is increasing).


We are proud to have achieved zero waste to landfill.


We actively compost our food waste from our factory.

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

We locally source packaging products where possible and reduce the amount of product packaging we use. The majority of our product packaging is recyclable. We use delivery bulk material tankers where possible and reusable and returnable containers to reduce waste.


We care about the community and we are proud to support local community projects and causes through product sponsorship and charity support. One such initiative is “Butlers Cup 4” – where the proceeds of all hot drinks sold on a particular day in Butlers Chocolate Cafés have been donated to a national charity. This program has been proven to be a major success and one in which our customers have been delighted to participate in, raising over €30,000 in 2016 for the Capuchin Centre for Homeless people and local homelessness initiatives in Dublin, Cork, Limerick and Galway. Previous recipients of the Butlers Cup 4 were The Society of Saint Vincent de Paul and Focus Ireland.

We are also delighted to have a great partnership with the HOPE Foundation with whom we have worked for a number of years. The Hope Foundation is an Irish charity that is working to improve the lives of the street children of Kolkata. By providing housing, day-care & education the charity aims to give hope to children who would otherwise have nothing. Since 2004, Butlers Chocolates have produced a special HOPE chocolate bar for the HOPE Foundation, which is sold in schools and businesses around Ireland for €2.00. The Hope Foundation works to free street children and poor families from lives of pain, abuse and poverty. In 2011, the HOPE Foundation launched a major fundraising initiative entitled “A Day of HOPE”, which takes place every Autumn.

Our Ethics

Butlers Chocolates is a family-owned business making and selling chocolates and hot beverages based in Dublin since 1932 and operating over 20 Butlers Chocolate Cafés.  

An Irish company, employing over 400 people holding many diverse views, Butlers Chocolates respects everyone's right to have and express their own opinions, and does not, as a company, take any particular political or religious stance on any issue, financial or otherwise. 

Butlers Chocolates contributes to a number of Irish and international charities, including programmes for improving the lives of cocoa farming families in The Ivory Coast, on an ongoing basis.
“At Butlers, we are passionate about making the highest quality chocolates and serving the finest hot beverages to our valued customers. An integral part of our philosophy is our underlying commitment to all those with whom we engage – our customers, suppliers, staff and the local community. At all levels of our company, we endeavour to treat everyone with fairness and respect and to consider and protect the environment. The future is important to us and we are all going to play our part in nurturing and safeguarding it.”  ~ Mairead Sorensen, Chairman, Butlers Chocolates.