Learn. Act. Eat.

Ok folks, I threw a lot of facts your way in the previous post and now here are some tools for you to expand your consumer knowledge and power, make your voice heard, and guide you in how to carefully select your chocolate.

The C10 class at BGI were given an assignment by a faculty member to explore the undercover world of the chocolate industry, and I have chosen some sources from there to share with you.

Learn more:

  • Watch this brief video of a BBC undercover story about a young boy who was trafficked to pick cocoa and then returned home.
  • Read this BBC story on the conflict cocoa if you currently eat bars that are sourced with cocoa from the Ivory Coast. Read this story to see how consumption of chocolate is outweighing supply and affecting prices. Is chocolate worth its weight in gold? I certainly think so.

Act:

  • Letters – I don’t wish to dictate what to write and who to write to, so use your judgment. If you are a Hershey’s fan, go dig into their practices. If you are concerned about something, let them know. I think the point here is to demand accountability and transparency so you have the ability to trace the ‘where’ and ‘how’ this chocolate came from. Traceability with the big companies is extremely difficult, and… lack of measures to trace also leads to a lack of accountability.

Here is contact info for some of the large players. Please keep in mind that all these companies have begun addressing the known issues and, there are other companies that likely could be questioned. This is just the link I came across. I’ll be reporting on these various sustainability initiatives one company at a time in future posts.

Eat:
  • Consumption – What do you look for? Look for certifications, look beyond mass market chocolate. I promise you this is worthwhile. While I don’t expect you to purchase $7-12 bars like I do (although, I hope to pull some of you there), I ask you to consider the true cost of chocolate.
  • Understanding certification – these are the current labels you should look for:

FairTrade USA (the only independent, third-party certifier of Fair Trade products in the U.S. and one of 20 members of Fairtrade Labelling Organizations International (FLO); Rainforest Alliance (RA works to conserve biodiversity and ensure sustainable livelihoods by transforming land-use practices, business practices and consumer behavior); USDA Organic; UTZ Certified(one of the largest sustainability certifiers in the world, with a focus on improving and sustaining livelihoods for farmers).

  • So, onto guilt-free eating: there are SO many certified, delicious options! All these chocolate bars were on sale at a Safeway in Portland I went to yesterday for a very reasonable $2-$4:

Newman’s Organic, Theo, Endangered Species, Green & Black’s (now owned by Kraft, but they are FT certified), AlterEco (my favorite is their dark chocolate blackout 85%).

Enjoy these bars! And, if your grocery store does not carry these sustainable brands – ask them to. The more people that do, the more chance they will find a way to accommodate you.

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1 Comment

  1. jennar151 said,

    December 11, 2011 at 6:01 pm

    Seriously, can we somehow plan a Chocolate Tasting at some intensive?!? I love all this knowledge that you have! Thanks for sharing.


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