Interview with Isabel Félez
The Spanish chocolate factory Chocolates Artesanos Isabel prioritizes sustainability in all of its production. For the owner Isabel Félez Roselló, using EKOenergy-labelled electricity is an important part of the bigger picture. We got in touch with her to learn more about the company’s plans.
Why did you decide to create Chocolates Artesanos Isabel? What was your motivation?
I am a professional baker. As a fairtrade and eco-friendly consumer, I wanted to apply the same logic in the preparation of my pastries. I used to have a bakery, but if you want to be 100% organic, the process is a bit complex, because you need to use a lot of ingredients.
With chocolate, it is easier, so we decided to try with fairtrade certified and organic cocoa. When you work in fair trade your motivation is not only to make a profit and survive with a salary. You want to tell people that there are products that come with a really dark history (such as cocoa), and you want to tell people that fair trade is an alternative option.
There is the saying “Either you behave as you think or you will end up thinking as you behave”. We need to be coherent in our life and our work, and as a business, we have more responsibility because we reach more people, we have a public image. The idea is to be an example.
“Either you behave as you think or you will end up thinking as you behave”
How do you communicate your philosophy to your clients?
Through everything. The first thing that the consumer gets to see is the packaging, which is eco-friendly and includes various certifications that we have. Also, on our website and social media, we are continuously promoting fair trade, ecological agriculture, women’s rights, sustainability, among other themes.
For example, our sector is generally led by men. The UN data states that 70% of agricultural work is performed by women, whereas women own only 2% of the land. Especially in rural areas, the labour of women is often not visible and valued. This makes you think.
At Chocolates Artesanos Isabel, we try to give more visibility to women’s work and our team is only composed of women. We want to send a clear message: for a quality product, not only the aesthetics, shape or taste are important. The whole process is important, also those parts that we cannot see, including how it has been produced and with what kind of materials. We want to make people think and understand that it is possible to consume in a conscious way.
Do you think that consumers are progressively changing those habits, and demanding change in production?
There is a growing number of people buying in a responsible way, but it is not a majority, we are not there yet. We still live in a moment in which the price is what makes the difference.
We need to keep telling consumers that they have power with decisions they make, to reach a point on which people would naturally care about working conditions and sustainability of products.
Why did you decide to switch to EKOenergy and how does it fit into your business model? Was it an easy process?
We wanted to be coherent. Our packaging was already ecological, but we wanted the whole manufacturing process to be sustainable, not only the final product.
We were already working with Spanish seller Gesternova because they guaranteed that all the energy produced came from renewable sources. Then we got to know about the EKOenergy-label through social media. It was one more step toward sustainability. EKOenergy’s extra criteria for renewable energy production fitted completely into our business idea.
We use ingredients from certified organic agriculture, we promote fairtrade and keep track of our carbon footprint, so EKOenergy is one more way to show our commitment to the environment. Switching to EKOenergy was very easy, as Gesternova managed the whole process.
What are your next steps? Do you have a strategy for the next years?
We would like to grow a bit more. We live in a village in Teruel, in Spain, and one of the problems that we are facing now is depopulation. We are losing inhabitants. That is why we want to create more job opportunities.
We would also like to expand our line of products, have our products available in more retail outlets and export more. We sell chocolate in France and sometimes Germany, but we would like to reach more countries in the future to enhance our impact.
Interview was made by María Barreiro
Posted on 6 November 2017