Happy International Chocolate Day! Most of us will agree that chocolate is one of the world’s favorite flavours. This magic bean has been consumed by humans from as far back as 1900 BC, and was an integral part of the Aztec and Mayan civilizations and culture.
Working on the average chocolate lovers eating habits, about 4.5 kilograms of chocolate passes our lips every year. It is however important to consider the sustainability implications of our collective sweet habit. Appropriate sustainability strategies are however not very easy to achieve when it comes to chocolates. Here’s why:
- Cocoa is usually sourced far away from where the chocolate is marketed. West Africa is behind 70 percent of the world’s cocoa production, followed by Malaysia and Brazil.
- The countries where cocoa is grown depend on it heavily for their economic value, which means volume production is increasingly a pressure.
But here’s the good news. Woolworths decided to re-look its sustainability strategies when sourcing cocoa. In 2012 only 25% of the cocoa used in the company’s wide range of chocolates where sourced from UTZ certified cocoa producers – a movement which enables farmers to learn better farming methods, improve working conditions and take better care of their children and the environment.
Today, 50% of the cocoa source for the company’s boxed chocolates, bars and slabs are certified sustainable.
Why only 50% you ask? Well, according to Woolworths, there’s currently not enough UTZ Certified cocoa available to meet the demand of customers. They are however determined to achieve 100% sustainability status by 2016.
So if you’re planning to celebrate International Chocolate Day, consider which brands are the most focused on the cocoa sourcing issue. I know it will help me feel a little less guilty about my own milk tart flavoured chocolate habit.