Chocolate is terrible for the environment. Read on for six chocolate brands that are bringing you sustainable, eco-friendly chocolate.


With Valentine’s Day coming up this week, there’s a good chance you’ll be binge-eating chocolate after spending a romantic evening with your sweetie. Or you’ll be binge-eating chocolate that you bought yourself in an act of self-love. Maybe you’ll be binge-eating chocolate that your bestie bought for you in celebration of Galentine’s Day. In any case, if you’re an American, there’s a good chance you’ll be binge-eating chocolate in the next few days. During Valentine’s week alone, Americans eat upwards of 58 million pounds of chocolate. But this ungodly amount of consumption comes at a steep cost to environment, so you might want to consider binging on some sustainable, eco-friendly chocolate.

Related Read:  What You Shouldn’t Buy Your Eco-friendly Valentine This Year

Why is Chocolate So Bad for the Environment?

The cacao tree, bearer of the cocoa bean, is a slow producer. During its peak production years, a cacao tree needs a full year to produce enough beans to make an eight-ounce bar of chocolate. With the staggering global demand for chocolate – over seven million tons per year – cacao farmers are clearing rainforest land to make room for more cacao trees. In West Africa, where most of the world’s cocoa is grown, deforestation has reduced rainforest cover drastically. This loss has reduced biodiversity and endangered local wildlife populations. Additionally, deforestation releases large amounts of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere and fuels climate change.

West African governments have enacted regulations to preserve areas of rainforest in an attempt to slow deforestation. However, these regulations are poorly enforced. Cocoa planters continue to grow inside of protected areas. The world’s leading chocolate companies, including big players like Mars and Hershey, admittedly use cocoa beans that have been illegally grown in these protected areas. In the end of 2017, cocoa makers did agree to a zero deforestation commitment in West Africa. However, there was no mention of the rainforest regions elsewhere. There is fear is that this type of damaging cocoa cultivation will continue in other areas of the world.

Can Cacao be Grown Sustainably?

Several farming methods can be used to grow cacao in a more sustainable way. The two that I consider most important:

1. Organic Farming

Chemical fertilizers pollute groundwater and destroy soil structure after prolonged use. This limits the amount of time a plot of land can be farmed. It also drives deforestation as new land is sought to replace unusable farmland. Organic farming techniques can greatly reduce these environmental impacts by forgoing chemical fertilizers.

2. Shade-Grown Farming

Because the cocoa trees are such slow producers, farmers prefer to grow the trees in direct sunlight to speed their growth. However, cocoa trees can be productive growers underneath native rainforest canopy. This shade-grown farming method promotes biodiversity, improves soil fertility, and improves long-term storage of greenhouse gases.


The best way to make a truly positive impact on the environment is to reduce consumption in all aspects of your life, and this holds true for chocolate. A lower demand for chocolate will result in a lower production of cocoa and slowed destruction of the environment. And chocolate is truly a luxury commodity. It might seem like you’ll die if you don’t have a chocolate bar with your wine while you watch the Bachelor, but you’ll be fine.

So do the rainforest a favor – treat chocolate like the luxury item that it is and only buy it for special occasions.

If you’re planning to buy some special-occasion chocolate this Valentine’s Day, here are six brands that are doing good by the environment and producing sustainable, eco-friendly chocolate bars:

Alter Eco

Sustainable Eco Friendly Chocolate | Alter Eco | curatedcassi.com

SUSTAINABILITY SCORE: FIVE STARS

What they make: Organic, fair-trade, non-GMO dark chocolate bars, chocolate coconut clusters and truffles.

What they’re doing for the environment:

  • Sourcing sustainably farmed cocoa
  • Using compostable packaging
  • Being transparent about reporting about their carbon footprint
  • Committing to reduce their carbon footprint every year
  • Supporting reforestation projects to offset their carbon production

Buy Alter Eco Chocolate

Green and Black’s

Sustainable Eco Friendly Chocolate | Green and Black's | curatedcassi.com

SUSTAINABILITY SCORE: FIVE STARS

What they make: Organic, fair-trade chocolate bars.

What they’re doing for the environment:

  • Sourcing shade-grown, sustainably farmed cocoa
  • Using renewable energy sources in their factories
  • Implementing measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in their supply chain

Buy Green and Black’s Chocolate

Zotter

Sustainable Eco Friendly Chocolate | curatedcassi.com

Photo by Charisse Kenion on Unsplash

SUSTAINABILITY SCORE: FOUR STARS

What they make: Organic, fair-trade chocolate bars and drinking chocolate.

What they’re doing for the environment:

  • Sourcing sustainably farmed cocoa
  • Using eco-friendly packaging
  • Using renewable energy sources in their factories

Buy Zotter Chocolate

Theo

Sustainable Eco Friendly Chocolate | Theo | curatedcassi.com

SUSTAINABILITY SCORE: THREE STARS

What they make: Organic, fair-trade, non-GMO chocolate bars, candy and caramels.

What they’re doing for the environment:

  • Sourcing sustainably farmed, shade-grown cocoa
  • Utilizing green energy sources at their factory

Buy Theo Chocolate

Endangered Species

Sustainable Eco Friendly Chocolate | Endangered Species | curatedcassi.com

SUSTAINABILITY SCORE: THREE STARS

What they make: Fair-trade, non-GMO chocolate bars.

What they’re doing for the environment:

  • Sourcing sustainably farmed cocoa from West African sources
  • Donating 10% of their annual net profits to wildlife conservation

Buy Endangered Species Chocolate

Tony’s Chocolonely

Sustainable Eco Friendly Chocolate | curatedcassi.com

Photo by NordWood Themes on Unsplash

SUSTAINABILITY SCORE: TWO STARS

What they make: Fair-trade chocolate bars.

What they’re doing for the environment:

  • Using recycled packaging
  • Offsetting carbon emissions

Buy Tony’s Chocolonely Chocolate

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Eco Friendly Sustainable Chocolate for Valentine's Day | curatedcassi.com