Stanford Social Innovation Review : Informing and inspiring leaders of social change

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Food

Quality and Innovation as the Basis for Sustainability

TCHO, a chocolate factory in San Francisco, has encouraged social entrepreneurship in developing countries through its innovative supply chain practices. In this short audio lecture, John Kehoe, VP of Sourcing and Development at TCHO, discusses the company’s complex supply chain. His story starts with growers in Ghana, Ecuador, Peru, and Madagascar, and moves to to their factory and store in San Francisco. The company has developed TCHOSource, a unique partnership program that connects the TCHO to its sourcing cooperatives around the world through technology. The use of technology throughout the supply chain helps increase the quality, productivity, and sustainability of the chocolate production. Technology use, starting from the co-op level, allows TCHO to help improve the livelihood and craft of its growers. TCHO is promoting social entrepreneurship from the ground up.

John Kehoe began his career in international trade in Caracas, Venezuela, in 1987 with a local trading operation. After establishing a $10MM annual cotton trade, he co-founded and operated a leading cocoa exporting business, managing thirty percent of the country’s exports of premium cacao with clients in the United States, Japan, and Europe. In 1999, ED&F Man Cocoa hired Kehoe to restructure a cocoa exporting operation in the Dominican Republic. In 2002, he returned to the United States, and founded “EcoTrade” a specialty cocoa brokerage and consultancy based in Miami. Joining TCHO in March of 2008, he has helped build TCHOSource through a $3.3MM USAID cooperative development grant. He also created a network of raw materials suppliers providing critical inventory financing. Kehoe holds a BA in economics from Tulane University and attended Venezuela’s IESA Advanced Management Program and the Owner–Directors program at INSEAD in Fontainebleau, France.

Listen to this podcast.

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