Chocolate and Deforestation

Chocolate and Deforestation


God, you have given all peoples one common origin. It is your will that they be gathered together as one family in yourself. Fill the hearts of humankind with the fire of your love and with the desire to ensure justice for all. By sharing the good things you give us, may we secure equality for all our brothers and sisters throughout the world. May there be an end to division, strife, and war. May there be a dawning of a truly human society built on love and peace. We ask this in your name.


Last week I received an email that I knew I didn’t want to read. I didn’t want to face the hard facts. And, I wanted to enjoy my Valentine’s Day chocolate. Sometimes, even environmentalists choose ignorance.

So, now that confession is over, let’s face the facts. *Deep breath*

Chocolate is bad for the environment. Well, some of it is anyway. Cocoa is a cash crop. It also happens to grow in places where rainforests grow. I think we all know what that means. Also, there is the problem of the things we add to cocoa beans to make them into the delectable stuff we love to eat. The biggest concern, not only for the environment but also for other justice issues, is palm oil. You’ve heard of conflict diamonds? There is also conflict palm oil! People and the plant are dying for that Oreo I love so much. Palm Oil is in many products, not only chocolate. It is also the main cash crop planted in land grabs across Africa, Indonesia, and South America. So, it is a justice issue as well as an environmental one. And, as always, the people most hurt are those who live in poverty with no voice.


Look for Fair Trade chocolate and sustainably sourced brands of chocolate. Yes, it costs more, but it also tastes better and is guilt free. Brands like Theo and Endangered Species can be found in the grocery store. Theo Brand is also Organic! Here’s a list of others. PalmOil Scan app is produced in collaboration with the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA) and led by top conservation-minded zoos around the world. With it, you can check if the product you are about to purchase is from a company committed to sourcing sustainable palm oil. The database contains products from 1000’s of brands and 100's of consumer product manufacturers to reveal how committed they are to certified sustainable palm oil.

You can advocate with the company of your favorite chocolate. Simply find the contact us page on their website. And get others to join you! One of the biggest being focused on now is Mondelez brands (which includes Oreos and Cadbury chocolates) They are working with the palm oil producers who have plans and permits to clear cut most of the forests across Borneo.

With you, we change lives

With the support of generous friends like you, we are able to continue our mission of educating and taking a stand with those in poverty— especially women and children.

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