Friends and founders of The Good Charcoal Company, Ben and Rob, took advantage of the pandemic times in 2020 to launch a mission-driven business. The idea seemed basic — make high-quality charcoal. But the result is literally changing the landscape and economy in Namibia.

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Bag of the Good Charcoal

The Good Charcoal Company is dedicated to producing chemical-free hardwood lump charcoal, made with acacia trees from FSC-certified areas. Not only is the resulting charcoal clean, but the hardwood means a better burn and that less is needed when running the grill. 

Related: Rammed-charcoal home is a handsome oasis between the trees

Food on the grill with a charcoal bag nearby

Furthermore, Namibia is home to a variety of animals, including the endangered cheetah. Scientists have identified the changing landscape, from the once-prevalent grasslands to an overgrowth of acacia trees, as the primary reason for the reduction in wildlife and farming habitats. In the last 80 years, 40 million hectares of grassland (roughly the size of Montana, or Germany and Switzerland combined) have become overgrown by the Acacia bush. This bush encroachment damages native plants and drinks up the limited amount of surface water. 

A look inside one of the charcoal bags

By allowing lands to be responsibly cleared of the problematic acacia trees, the grassland habitat was restored for animals to live and hunt while improving the lacking biodiversity throughout the region. 

A man holding a bag of charcoal

With the goal of improving the land, all wood harvested is managed through the FSC certification program. Site audits ensure protected trees are left untouched, all dead wood is removed from clearing areas, the harvested trees meet the diameter recommendations and ensure the quality of the coal. Working and living conditions are also reviewed and an FSC representative provides additional training as required so all workers understand the criteria. As a result, The Good Charcoal Company is the first FSC-approved charcoal in the United States.  

People in front of food bags to give to those in need

In the spirit of giving back, every bag sold contributes to improving food insecurity throughout America. The company has provided over 20,000 meals through donations to food banks and free BBQ events across the nation. 

The Good Charcoal Company products are available in 15.4 pounds and 8 pounds options and can be found at major retailers or online.

+ The Good Charcoal Company

Images via The Good Charcoal Company