Is Organic Chocolate Sustainable?
Are you looking to discover whether or not organic chocolate is a sustainable food item?
These days, brands that go above and beyond to help improve our environment through ethical growing and manufacturing processes deserve to be highlighted. This is especially true when you consider all the other brands out there that have proven they don't really care about your wellbeing, or the planet's for that matter.
Today, we'll explain what it means for a product to be "sustainable", and help you understand what to look for when shopping for yourself or your family. Then, we'll address the question you came here seeking an answer to - is organic chocolate actually sustainable? Spoiler alert - yes, it is! You'll soon learn why.
After that, we'll share the top sustainable organic chocolate brands currently on the market so you can shop guilt-free for your favorite sweet treat! Buckle up, because we've got a ton to cover today. We're going to get the ball rolling with a definition.
What Does It Mean For A Product To Be Sustainable?
Before we address whether or not organic chocolate is sustainable, we need to define what sustainability is. To those who aren't entirely informed, sustainability could mean a few different things. So, we're going to clear it up right from the jump.
Simply put, sustainability speaks to our ability to continue life on earth, avoiding the depletion of our natural resources in order to maintain an ecological balance. Think of it this way: our population is growing faster than it is shrinking. At a certain point, we'll exceed our planet's resources if we continue growing food and living the way we currently do.
So, putting an emphasis on sustainability is more important than ever. How does this work when it comes to food in particular? Those who grow and manufacture food in a sustainable manner do a few things differently than those who are less focused on eco-friendliness.
Some experts concisely summarize agricultural sustainability as a means of producing food that's good for people and good for the environment. It also must be humane to animals and agriculture workers, while supporting rural and urban communities simultaneously.
I think it is safe to say most everyone agrees that sustainability is a good thing. We all want to create a world where future generations can thrive as we have, right? This all sounds great, but what does it actually look like it practice? Specifically, what does a sustainable chocolate brand do that non-sustainable chocolate brands don't do? Let's take a look.
Characteristics Of A Sustainable, Organic Chocolate Brand
When it comes to chocolate and sustainability, there are two main aspects we need to take into account: the growing phase and the manufacturing phase.
In each of these two phases, there are things a sustainable, organic chocolate brand will do that sets them apart from their non-sustainable counterparts. We're going to start by discussing the cultivation of sustainable cocoa beans.
If you weren't already aware, growing chocolate is an art and science. It is no easy task to grow high quality chocolate organically and sustainably. Part of this is because there are really only a few places in the world that are ideal for cocoa cultivation. Most of the world's chocolate comes from West Africa, Latin America, and Asia.
Unfortunately, these areas are quite a bit less developed than what we're used to in other European or American countries. this means that there are going to be pretty serious challenges when it comes to sustainability. Let's look at some of the issues at play.
The Problem With Child Labor
A huge part of sustainability is taking into account the fair treatment of employees and workers. Unfortunately, though, this isn't always the case in the chocolate industry. Because of where the cocoa industry thrives, child labor is a huge problem.
In 2001, many countries signed the Harkin-Engel Protocol. This was supposed to battle the problem of child labor - yet, not every country signed it. As such, there are still instances of children working cocoa farms - as many as 2 million in Africa alone! That's pretty alarming.
What's even more alarming is the companies that employ child cocoa famers. Chances are, one of your favorite candy brands has been hammered by lawsuits for sourcing cocoa through farms that use child labor: Nestle, Hershey, and Mars are all documented in court proceedings in recent years.
When you consider how intense and dangerous cocoa farming can be, you'll quickly realize that children have no place in this industry. From long, hard hours to dangerous tools like machetes, it's plain to see that child labor is an issue. When you choose a brand known for sustainability, though, you can rest assured none of the cocoa farmers were children!
Deforestation To Grow More Cocoa
We probably don't have to explain to you why deforestation is a problem when it comes to sustainability. After all, we need trees to breathe. Why are we cutting so many down at such a rapid pace? Not only does this harm us humans, but it's harmful to the ecosystem - removing the homes and food source of countless animals.
As it turns out, the cocoa industry is known for encouraging deforestation to replace existing trees and forests with cocoa farms. Let's put an actual figure to this to help you understand the gravity of the situation. Studies suggest that as much as 40% of the Ivory Coast cocoa is grown in areas that are supposed to be protected.
It's not just the cocoa itself that poses a risk to our sustainable goals, though. Other ingredients commonly found in organic chocolate can be considered foes to a sustainable life. One of these is palm oil. Maybe you're already familiar with the problem with palm. But if not, just know that it's an even bigger contributor to deforestation than cocoa! While you won't find it in most organic dark chocolate, it is common in other candy bars.
Companies that source their chocolate or other ingredients from these areas where illegal deforestation has occurred are not considered sustainable. As such, you should avoid them at all costs if you consider yourself to live a sustainable life.
Is Organic Chocolate Inherently Sustainable?
Now that you know the two major issues affecting whether a chocolate bar is sustainable or not, we want to get into the matter at hand today. Is organic chocolate inherently sustainable? After all, you'll hear these two terms - organic & sustainable - sometimes used interchangeably.
But make no mistake - these mean very different things. Something that's considered organic isn't necessarily sustainable. And on the other hand, something sustainable may not necessarily be USDA certified organic. If you want to learn more about what organic chocolate means, check out our complete guide. But here is a quick refresher of the key differences between organic chocolate and sustainable chocolate:
- Organic chocolate - free of synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, GMO's, and other compounds. Products are tested by the USDA and must pass with flying colors to earn the organic seal of approval.
- Sustainable chocolate - aims to minimize the depletion of natural resources in the ground. Farmers focus on preserving higher levels of organic matter, reducing erosion, and keeping carbon in the soil - while putting society first.
So, no - organic chocolate isn't always sustainable. But sometimes, it is! It all comes down where you buy your ethical chocolate bar from. Let's talk about choosing the right brand, and how you can shop in confidence knowing you're getting ethical chocolate that's also organic.
How To Find Organic, Sustainable Chocolate Bars
Finding organic, ethical chocolate that also tastes great is no easy task. In fact, you'd be hard pressed to find a chocolate bar in your local grocery store that satisfies all three of these aspects!
To stay on the safe side, you'll need to do ample research to find the right brand. Avoid brands that source their cocoa beans from west Africa or contain any trace amounts of palm oil.
Instead, look for brands that are transparent about what's in their chocolate bars - and where they came from. These brands should have deep connections to their cocoa farmers, or better yet, be cocoa farmers themselves!
These chocolate brands should manufacture their products at the source, and take great care in selecting packaging that's recyclable. If they make an effort to minimize their overall environmental footprint, chances are, they're a sustainable chocolate brand.
At that point, all you need to do is find that organic seal and you'll have discovered a quality, organic ethical chocolate brand that truly puts you and our plant before their bottom line.
To help save you the time and hassle of vetting chocolate bars and finding the right product, we're going to share with you the #1 organic, ethical chocolate brand currently on the market.
Mid-Day Squares: The Best Organic, Sustainable Chocolate Bars Available!
If you're a fan of organic dark chocolate and preserving our earth for generations that come after us, you'll love Mid-Day Squares. We've earned a reputation for producing ethical chocolate bars that don't just taste great - they're great for you and our planet! What more could you ask for?
How about three delicious flavors to choose from! That's right, to help you keep things fresh we offer a range of delicious flavors like Fudge YAH, Almond CRUNCH, and PEANUT Butta. All of these are sustainably sourced and organic - you truly get the best of both worlds with our dark chocolate bars.
The best part, though? These chocolate bars are functional. They are everything a candy bar wishes it could be in terms of ingredient label, and everything a protein bar wishes it was in terms of taste. With natural, healthy ingredients, our chocolate bars satisfy cravings and optimize your wellbeing.
Whether it's through the mood boosting properties of dark chocolate, the mental clarity of yacon syrup, or the stress relief of sacha inchi protein - our dark chocolate is a superfood!
And you can try it out for yourself right now by ordering a 12 pack of your favorite flavor, or trying them all with one of our sample packs. Don't wait any longer - you deserve ethical chocolate that tastes great, is great for you, and is great for our planet. Shop now!