Chocolate is one of the most popular sweet treats in the world and, to be honest, who does not love chocolate? It seems to be the best choice in many situations and whether you are trying to say ‘I love you’ to your girlfriend or want to apologise for not being on time for dinner at your grandma’s home, a box of chocolate may seem your salvation. But have you ever taught what lays behind the beautifully wrapped chocolate box? Probably not, as people take chocolate for granted.
Even though for the majority of people, chocolate is just a sweet escape in the middle of a busy day, for the others, it is a nightmare. You may say it is exaggerated to make such a bold statement, but sometimes, behind a chocolate bar lays the sad truth of child labour or human trafficking. There is a discrepancy in the way chocolate is produced and consumed worldwide, as generally the cocoa beans are cultivated by small farmers living in the less developed countries who rarely have the chance of consuming the final product. Later on, the chocolate is consumed by the rest of us, people living in wealthier, more developed countries. The sad truth is that many of the farmers cultivating cocoa beans usually live in poverty and only about 3% of the price of each chocolate bar returns to the farmer.
Latest researches demonstrate how cocoa production is directly linked to deforestation in developing nations. Therefore, assistant professor Mark Noble argues that the higher the concentration of cocoa exports, the higher the rate of deforestation across producing nations. This is a new emerging trend, as 20 years ago the situation was different. Nowadays, as the cocoa beans demand increases and the cultivation strategies are changing, damaging trends are registered. Moreover, another important aspect is the changing of weather patterns as a result of the human activity on the face of Planet Earth.
It has been demonstrated that some countries have been encouraged to reach economic growth through agriculture exports, but sometimes this approach may lead to negative environmental and social implications. The deforestation problem was approached in March 2017 by The Prince of Wales International Sustainability Unit, in partnership with the World Cocoa Foundation and the Sustainable Trade Initiative, militating for the end of deforestation and forest degradation that incur in the global cocoa supply chain. The initiative is supported by some of the most important chocolate companies in the world, making the agreement signed the first collective industry commitment to end deforestation caused by chocolate production and will be presented this month at COP23 in Bonn, Germany. The president of the World Chocolate Foundation made an alarming announcement: over the past 50 years, half of the world’s tropical forests have been lost due to agriculture practices.
It is extremely concerning how our daily habits may have such a negative impact on Mother Earth, and it is even more concerning the way in which people choose not to see deeper than the surface. Following the supply chain of a product may be a difficult and time-consuming task for someone who is not particularly interested in sustainability, but it may make a difference in the direction our planet is following at the moment. A change in the peoples’ approaches on agriculture, along with a change in global consumption behaviour driven by the increase in popularity of fair trade products may lead to a general improvement for our environment, the future generations’ environment. Let’s think twice before making a purchase! What brings us happiness may be the synonym of sadness for the others and may be damaging for our world.
A chocolate lover, but a Planet protector,