Feb. 13, 2020
Chocolate - the ideal valentines day gift, paired with a few roses maybe. For centuries the companionship of the two remains as a staple in the holiday’s tradition. However, chocolate, or before its chocolate–cocoa–could be in danger of production.
Climate change and production methods might affect the availability and price of chocolate leading by 2050
Why is chocolate under threat?
Worldwide cocoa is grown on small family farms in the global south. Ghana and the Ivory Coast produce half of the world’s supply, following with other top producers like Ecuador, Brazil, and Indonesia. The transition from seeds to chocolate is a time-intensive and laborious process. Before it becomes a rich and creamy treat, chocolate starts off as pulpy seed from a fruit that resembles a rough and bumpy papaya.
However, cocoa is a delicate crop and is susceptible to pests, disease, and changes in weather. Cocoa farming practices are not held equal across the globe, there are still traces of child labor and harsh working conditions. Despite growing numbers for fair-trade certification, most cocoa farmers remain below global poverty lines and struggle to cover basic needs.
Climate change is a contributing factor, wherein the next 30 years, rising temperatures will have an unmatched impact on the production of cocoa. Likewise, many farmers who harvest cocoa face inequalities in pay, work delegation, and exploitation from large companies (think Hershey’s, M&M’s, etc.)
What can I do about chocolate production!?
If you care about emissions, it might be an easy suggestion to break-up with roses and chocolates as a holiday token–and you would be right to do so. However, cocoa production provides the livelihood for 40 and 50 million farmers in the global south, many of these farms spanning 2 to four hectares.
If you are going to buy chocolate, make sure it is fair trade and ethically sourced. Support smaller brands that are notable for their production methods.
Maybe for Valentine’s Day in 2020, it's time to start a new tradition! Don’t let those boxes heart-shaped guilt sit on your counter until April. Instead, try fruit, baked goods, or treats that your valentine specifically admires.