Conspiracy Chocolate's winter special chocolate bars. Image: Conspiracy Chocolate
When you take a bite of your favourite chocolate, do you pause to wonder who makes the chocolate you consume, and really, how it is made? Unbeknownst to many, the journey of chocolate manufacturing, from bean to bar, has far-reaching implications for the environment, communities, and even the quality of the chocolate itself.
As the holiday season approaches, our thoughts turn to joyful gatherings, sparkling lights, and, of course, delectable treats. Among them, chocolate holds a special place in our hearts and homes. However, as we indulge in this beloved treat, it is important to take a moment to consider the impact our chocolate choices have on the planet and the communities that produce it. In this blog post, we will explore the significance of sustainable chocolate and provide guidance on making conscious choices that contribute to a more sustainable future.
The Journey of Cocoa from Bean to Bar
Before chocolate becomes the delectable treat we know and love, it must go through a labour-intensive and intricate process of production.
Cocoa bean cultivation takes place primarily on the cocoa belt, a distinctive growing region within 20 degrees of the equator. Unfortunately, the demand for chocolate has put immense pressure on the region. Today, the production of commercial chocolate faces challenges such as overexploitation of farmlands, high carbon emissions resulting from deforestation and long-distance transportation, and a lack of traceability and transparency of labour conditions on cocoa farms.
By paying attention to the origin of the cocoa beans, bean-to-bar chocolate companies seek to source their beans directly from farmers or trusted suppliers. This direct relationship allows them to have a deeper understanding of the farming practices, environmental impact, and social conditions involved in cocoa production. It also enables them to establish fair trade relationships, ensuring that farmers receive fair compensation for their labour and investment.
“We are responsible for everybody: for the farmer in the beginning and the consumer in the end,” says Amit Oz, Co-founder and CEO of Conspiracy Chocolate.
Tips for Choosing Sustainable Chocolate:
1. Traceability and transparency: Opt for brands that provide transparency about their supply chains, from sourcing cocoa beans to manufacturing processes. Traceability allows us to identify whether the chocolate we enjoy is free from unethical practices.
2. Support local and bean-to-bar producers: Related to traceability and transparency, consider exploring local chocolate-makers who prioritise sustainable sourcing and craftsmanship. Many small-scale bean-to-bar producers not only place a strong emphasis on ethical practices but also delights chocolate enthusiasts with their commitment to minimal ingredients and innovative flavour combinations.
3. Look for certifications: Certifications such as Fairtrade, Rainforest Alliance, and Organic indicate that the chocolate meets specific sustainability standards. Such certifications are a step in the right direction, but they still have a long way to go in ensuring the average cocoa farmer makes a decent living out of their crops. To ensure cocoa farmers get a fair wage, the Dutch company, Tony's Chocolonely, pays their own premium ontop of the Fairtrade Premium.
4. Mindful consumption: While indulging in chocolate, let's savour each bite and appreciate the craftsmanship behind it. And don’t forget to share with others!
Where to Buy Sustainably Produced Chocolate?
A quick search of “bean-to-bar chocolate Hong Kong” will give you a list of local artisanal and bean-to-bar companies (Chocobien, Slok, and many more). See Conspiracy Chocolate's retail partners here. We encourage you to look into each brand’s ethical practices and curious flavours. Why not spread joy and awareness during the holidays by gifting your friends and family a bar or two of sustainably produced chocolate? While you’re at it, share this blog post with them.
You can also join us on our GREEN Pursuits Podcast episode featuring Conspiracy Chocolate as we delve deeper into the world of sustainable chocolate and explore the remarkable work they are doing. Listen to “Curious Flavors and Ethical Practices: The World of Craft Chocolate” on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, and Spotify.
Together, let's make this holiday season a celebration of joy, kindness, and sustainability!