Cool Earth and Vivienne Westwood at aqua shard this christmas

This winter, contemporary British restaurant aqua shard will partner with British fashion designer and activist, Dame Vivienne Westwood, to create a spectacular 18 foot Christmas tree, exclusively branded chocolate bars made from cacao grown by Asháninka communities in Peru, and a special chocolate dessert and cocktail all to raise funds for Cool Earth. Displayed in the restaurant’s triple-height atrium, set against a stunning backdrop of the capital’s skyline, the sustainably sourced British tree will be adorned with unique ornaments designed exclusively by Vivienne Westwood and her husband, design partner and creative director Andreas Kronthaler.

Vivienne and her husband Andreas pose next to a rainforest river at sunset.

Underpinning the design duo’s longstanding passion for environmental campaigning, Vivienne and Andreas have chosen to collaborate on the project with Cool Earth, a charity they are both Patrons of and have supported for many years. Cool Earth works alongside indigenous villages to halt rainforest destruction and puts these communities back in control of the world’s most endangered rainforests in South America , Africa, and Oceania. Cool Earth’s award winning model means they have more rainforest under community protection than any other NGO or government.

The tree will be draped with delicate fairy lights and festive beading created by a women’s cooperative in the Awajún community supported by Cool Earth. The garlands are made from “tuju” and “huayruro” seeds. The vibrant colours of huayruro seeds symbolise good fortune, abundance and balance, and new-borns and newlyweds often receive huayruro seeds as gifts for a happy and prosperous life.

The tree will then be cocooned in sumptuous lace fabrics of various colours, densities and scale and finished with an oversized bow at the base- creating a truly avant garde take on the traditional Christmas tree.

Alongside the resplendent tree, aqua shard will sell an exclusive range of limited edition Cool Earth chocolate bars, emblazoned with a unique wrapper design created by Westwood & Cool Earth. The chocolate is made using cacao from rare criollo beans grown, harvested and fermented by Cool Earth’s Asháninka partners in Peru. The organic, single origin, handmade bars are traceable right back to the rainforest, where cacao production is providing a vital income that means the Asháninka’s forest is safe from the loggers. Bars will be available to purchase online or at aqua shard, with all proceeds going directly to Cool Earth’s rainforest partnerships.

In the kitchen, Head Chef Ben Spalding will use the charity’s organic chocolate to create an indulgent festive dessert, while in the bar a creative chocolate cocktail will be available, with a percentage of the sales going to Cool Earth. Both will be served from 23rd November to 31st December. Additionally, an optional £1 added to every bill throughout November, December and January will be donated directly to Cool Earth, who recently launched a new project in Papua New Guinea, supporting rainforest communities whose rainforest is being threatened by Palm Oil plantations.

The chocolate bar will be available to buy from the Cool Earth website soon, so watch this space.