- Indulging in chocolate shouldn’t feel guilty, as long as you are aware of the environmental impact the favorite sweet treat has. The chocolate industry is one of the leading causes of deforestation and contributors to climate change. Cacao, the main ingredient in chocolate, requires massive amounts of land to grow, each year causing millions of trees to be cut down to make room for new plants. Due to the unique and extremely picky environment, cacao trees need to grow, the farming process is limited to certain areas near the equator. The loss of trees then decreases the amount of carbon naturally removed from the environment from the plants natural processes, as well as contributes to the falling biodiversity in rainforests.
- When buying chocolate, consider researching the methods used to grow the cacao. Recently, new farming innovations have introduced new, more sustainable techniques such as pruning, multi-cropping, shade-growing, and natural pest control methods. Practices like these can maximize nutrient preservation in the soil, increase carbon sequestration, and even improve crop yields.
- Sugarcane, another major ingredient in chocolate, is extremely water-intensive. Due to its coastal growing locations, chemical pollution due to run-off from pesticide use frequently contaminated freshwater ecosystems, harming biodiversity and water health.
- Cacao and sugarcane are primarily grown in countries with little to no labor laws, exploiting forced and child laborers. Fair Trade certified chocolate ensures ethical and sustainable guidelines are met.
- Check out Alter Ego, Theo Chocolate, UnReal, or Endangered Species chocolate.