Unless we change the way we buy chocolate, we could lose it forever.
Fairtrade Finland has a message for chocolate lovers the world over: Buy fairtrade to fight the climate crisis. This may not seem like an obvious connection, as fairtrade is usually referenced in the context of fair pay and good working conditions, but it is intimately connected to the planet's wellbeing, too. Mirka Kartan of Fairtrade Finland explains in a press release:
Well-paid farmers are better positioned to fight climate change on a local level. They have the support they need to implement more sustainable agricultural practices for resilient crops. And they are less inclined to engage in reckless clearcutting of the rainforest for immediate financial returns, investing instead in shade-grown systems that have higher productivity and greater returns in the long run.
"Buying Fairtrade certified chocolate has a positive impact on the environment as it supports producers with tools and practices to adapt. When producers are certified as Fairtrade, they commit to environmental standards that protect the local ecosystem."
If business continues as usual, chocolate's future is looking grim. Cacao beans, a fundamental ingredient in chocolate, are finicky at the best of times. As I wrote in an earlier post, "They will not grow outside of a narrow geographical band that measures 20 degrees north and south of the equator, and this is threatened by climate change." Numerous studies have found that production is likely to plummet as temperatures in prime tropical growing regions rise and rampant deforestation continues.
Fairtrade Finland calls it 'Chocogedden: The end of chocolate as we know it,' and has created a series of short videos of melting chocolate animals to drive home the point that chocolate needs to be protected. The most effective way to do this is to start paying more for chocolate by buying Fairtrade-certified products.
"With melting chocolate animals we are raising awareness of how climate change threatens cocoa trees and the wildlife that surrounds it. The world is buzzing about the environment but we need to bring the message home in more ways. If chocolate as we know it disappears by 2050, maybe people will look to organisations like Fairtrade to make a stand."