Save the World, EAT more Chocolate

Feb 4, 2010 2:00 PM ET

Save the World, EAT more Chocolate

If chocolate is one of your favorite guilty pleasures, like it is mine, you can feel a little less guilty about it if you treat yourself to the “sustainable” kind. A growing number of chocolate manufacturers are addressing important social and environmental challenges within the cocoa industry, and they’re offering a variety of new, “sustainable chocolate” products with eco-labels you can trust.


Farm earnings are low. The majority of cocoa is grown by small family farmers in remote tropical regions. Because they lack market access, they often end up selling their harvest to middlemen for a fraction of its value, keeping them in a cycle of extreme poverty. The typical cocoa worker earns hardly enough to meet basic living needs.

There have been documented labor abuses. To cut costs, some farms are reportedly using forced child labor, particularly in Western Africa, where the majority of the world’s chocolate originates.

Growing practices are damaging eco-systems. To meet increasing world demand, new cocoa varieties have been introduced that grow in full sun, an arrangement that disrupts eco-systems and supports far less biodiversity than cocoa’s native shaded habitat.

Some of the most toxic pesticides are used. Cocoa plants are extremely vulnerable to pests and diseases. As a result, farmers may resort to using very toxic pesticides, including lindane, a toxic cousin of DDT, which poses health and environmental risks.


Choose chocolate with meaningful eco-labels. Doing so can help make a real difference in the lives of the people who grow cocoa and also benefit the environment. The following is a list of the meaningful eco-labels you can find on chocolate:

USDA Certified Organic

What it means:

• Farmers emphasize the use of renewable resources and the conservation of soil and water to enhance environmental quality • Crops are grown without using synthetic fertilizer or the most persistent pesticides • Crops are produced without genetic engineering or ionizing radiation • Crops are processed and handled separately from conventional cocoa

Fair Trade Certified

What it means:

• Farmers and workers receive a fair price for their product • Trade is done directly between farmer-owned cooperatives and buyers • Crops are grown using soil and water conservation measures that restrict the use of agrochemicals

Save the world EAT More Chocolate! is dedicated to our users. We focus our attention on changing the world through recycling, waste-to-energy and conservation. We reward our users for their sustainable behaviors on our website, through our Greenopolis Tracking Stations and with curbside recycling programs.


More from Greenopolis

Why Recycle Your Tires? Fire!

How to Green Your Fridge

The New World Fest

Recyclebank & Greenopolis Unite!

Tristin and Tyler - Eco Twins

Green Your Game Day