What’s in a bar of chocolate?
Chocolate – don’t you just love it? But can we make it more environmentally friendly?
Our Make It Better campaign calls for better-designed products that do less damage to the planet.
We want to get away from confusing labelling. Instead we want producers to be more responsible for how things are made.
To start off, we thought we'd take a look at chocolate.
Chocolate and the environment
Thirsty work: water
It takes 2,500 litres to produce 100g of plain chocolate, mostly from cocoa and milk production. 100g of plain chocolate requires 2,400 litres.
It's possible to use a lot less water. Cadbury, for example, reuses 30% of waste water at its cocoa processing site in Chirk.
Burping cows: carbon
Producing a 49g Cadbury Dairy Milk bar releases 169g of greenhouse gas emissions, much of it as methane from dairy cows.
A diet with plenty of minerals curbs excessive belching. Locally-grown feed, instead of imported soy, also reduces dairy farming's carbon footprint.
Cadbury found packaging accounted for only 2% of a Dairy Milk bar's emissions. This is good news.
But let's not get complacent. Over-packaged Easter eggs, for example, show there's still work to be done.
Bean scene: cocoa
Sometimes forest is cleared to grow cocoa in plantations which need increased irrigation and use chemical fertilisers and herbicides.
Cocoa is sucessfully grown under tree canopy, which aids moisture retention and prevents disease. Let's see more of this.
Palm oil lurks in many chocolates. In south-east Asia, rainforests are cut down to grow palm oil, releasing carbon dioxide and threatening wildlife.
Why use palm oil at all? After all, chocolate maker Divine produces delicious treats without it.
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This is based on an article that first appeared in 'Earthmatters', Friends of the Earth's supporter magazine.
Make a regular donation and you can keep up to date with our campaigns with 3 issues of 'Earthmatters' each year.