IMAGINE Leaders – Raphaëlle Peinado
Sucden, Cocoa Sustainability Director
I grew up in a French household, outside of New York City. Upon greater reflection, the fact that I felt I was straddling between two cultures, since childhood, has profoundly shaped my world view. It led me to puruse a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science and Hispanic Studies at McGill University in Montreal Canada, where I met students from all of the world and, ultimately, to pursue a Master’s degree in International Development from the London School of Economics.
After this Master’s, I began my career in Peru, founding a social enterprise
to combat plastic pollution and then working on another social enterprise
that had as an objective conservation of the primary forest in the Peruvian Amazon. After the first two years of my career and as a result of my experience
in rural development in particular, I became very interested in how to support agriculture to become more sustainable and how agriculture can actually be used as a tool for environmental and rainforest conservation, more specifically. This led me to work as a consultant in Peru and then as a Sustainability Manager in Ecuador and then in Peru for a cocoa trading company headquartered in the United States. I worked for this company for four years, supporting to build its sustainability program and strategy, from its conception to implementation.
Following the bankruptcy of this company, I had the opportunity to join Sucden (where I currently work), a soft commodities trader, with a much larger footprint and which was much better capitalized. When I applied to, and finally decided to join, Sucden as a Cocoa Sustainability Manager, I was very aware that Sucden, at the time, was not necessarily seen by its peers and the cocoa sector as a company with a strong vision related to sustainability. Nevertheless, I took the job, believing that I could support this company (that had a great potential due to its capitalization and footprint in cocoa producing companies).