For one tree to bar chocolate maker, owning their own cacao farm makes them tree to bar, while others claim the term thanks to close relationships with local cacao producers.The most important aspects of tree to bar chocolate are control and traceability, allowing makers to have a larger impact within the country of origin. Because there is no set definition of tree to bar chocolate, there are a multitude of ways to start such a business.
Cacaoteca is a tree to bar chocolate brand from the Dominican Republic. From their farm in northern Dominican Republic, Cacaoteca collects their own cacao and that of nearby farmers to process locally. The cacao then travels south to the capital city of Santo Domingo to be made into chocolate, keeping all the fruit’s value within the Dominican Republic. A more contentious example of tree to bar chocolate making is Akesson's Chocolate.
The founder and owner of Akesson’s owns cacao & pepper plantations in Brazil, Indonesia, Madagascar. His plantations have supplied cacao for his own brand of chocolate, as well as to chocolate makers around the world, for well over a decade. Akesson’s is a vertically-integrated tree to bar chocolate company in so far as he owns each aspect of the business, but he doesn’t make the chocolate himself. He contracts out the chocolate making to Europe, where the cacao is shipped and processed into chocolate, though he has complete control over the plantations and where the chocolate is made.