Hello Loyal Soup People! All this chat about holiday indulgence got me thinking about chocolate. I’m sure we’re all eating quite a bit of it this month! I wanted to write this week about sustainable chocolate. While that sounds a little… silly… the truth is that buying responsibly made chocolate can have a very big impact on the environment, labor practices, and more.
Chocolate is definitely “in” these days. Unfortunately, mass produced chocolate is linked to all sorts of unhealthy growing and production practices. Cacao trees normally need shade and rainfall to produce high quality beans for chocolate. However, as the industry tries to keep up with the demand, large chocolate producers have cleared rainforests and created hybrid trees which don’t need a lot of shade, but do require a lot pesticide. These chemicals, along with the associated deforestation, destroy wildlife and the sensitive eco-system. They also contaminate the soil and water.
Many large chocolate growers pay below-poverty wages and often employ child laborers. Not good at all.
The good news is that you can easily purchase sustainable chocolate and support small farms that commit to growing chocolate using traditional methods, while paying fair wages. The “bean to bar” movement has been wonderful in supporting these farmers. When buying chocolate look for a label such as “Rainforest Alliance Certified,” “Fair Trade,” or “Direct Trade” to ensure that your bar is sourced with responsibly grown cocoa. Some small companies cannot afford these certifications, but work with small chocolate growers. Read labels and contact the company! Most are proud of their sourcing and will keep you on the phone forever talking about the quality of their chocolate!
Little steps like these can have a large impact on the chocolate industry and beyond. When many people speak with their dollars, even the big players start paying attention!
*NOTE – Soupermom is not a licensed dietitian, doctor, personal trainer, or anything like that. She’s just extremely knowledgeable about healthy living!! But if you slip and fall while taking her advice, it is not her fault!