Please note: this blog was published in October 2018 and its content is based on what was correct at the time of writing. As a result, some of the facts and opinions may no longer be current or relevant.
Addicted to chocolate? You’re not alone. A recent study found that the average Brit chomped their way through 8.4kg of chocolate in 2017. Britain leads world consumption of chocolate ahead of Switzerland (8.3kg per person), Germany (8.2kg) and Russia (6.8kg). And consumption is increasing across the globe: Easter chocolate production (which represents around a quarter of all annual production) was up 23% in the past year alone1.
We all know chocolate is delicious, but we don’t always know if the production process is as eco-friendly or fair on producers as it could be. The cocoa beans from which chocolate is made are grown in tropical countries like Ghana, Ivory Coast, Indonesia, Brazil, and Saint Lucia, where humidity levels are high and rainfall abundant. Climate change and rising temperatures are making it increasingly difficult for farmers to grow cocoa beans and keep up with increasing global demand. With production under strain, no access to technology, and low wages, many farmers end up abandoning their cocoa plantations. As the situation worsens, companies like Hotel Chocolat, are stepping up their commitment to change the way chocolate is made and bring ethics into the heart of the production process.
Name: Hotel Chocolat
Description: Chocolatier and cocoa grower
HQ Location: London, UK
The first Hotel Chocolat shop opened its doors in North London in 2004 and immediately started revolutionising the world of chocolate with its audacious and original innovations. Not only do they make Easter eggs with very thick shells, they also experiment with tastes many chocolatiers would consider too risqué. But Hotel Chocolat doesn’t play by the rules and is proud of its inventions, including spiced cocoa nib ketchup, white chocolate horseradish, and cocoa gin.
Hotel Chocolat is committed to supporting cocoa growing communities. The chocolatier has a programme, Engaged Ethics, which takes Fair Trade a step further. In addition to making sure cocoa producers are paid a fair wage, they make a virtue of meeting the farmers on the ground and understanding the challenges they’re facing. Their commitment goes way beyond pay checks, they fund and manage projects empowering local communities that lead to sustainable improvements. In one such project, in Ghana, Hotel Chocolat has built cocoa seedling nurseries and replanted trees in order to drive yields up and enable farmers to sell their cocoa at higher prices.
In 2006, Hotel Chocolat took their programme to a new level and started their own cocoa farm in Saint Lucia where the company now works with over 180 farmers directly. These farmers are given advice and technical help, provided with high-quality cocoa seedlings and are guaranteed a market for their full crop.
More cocoa, less sugar
Hotel Chocolat doesn’t just focus on producers, the chocolatier also cares about its customers and wants to offer them healthier (and tastier) products. Challenging modern convention of high sugar levels in mass produced chocolate, Hotel Chocolat aims to correct the sugar-cocoa balance in favour of the latter: their milk chocolate contains 40%-50% of cocoa and white chocolate has 36% of cocoa – levels well above the industry average. The company is also committed to using only natural ingredients.
Hotel Chocolat is making waste reduction a key priority: every single part of the cocoa bean is put to use and all of the misshapen chocolates accidentally made during production can be found in stores!
The commitment doesn’t stop there, either. The chocolatier does its best to reduce energy consumption in its offices, warehouse unit, and shops – here’s how:
- All head office electronic equipment has been replaced with gold Energy Star rated appliances.
- Their warehouse units are equipped with energy management systems that switch lights off automatically when they aren’t being used.
- Stores use air curtains to control energy loss when doors are opened, and heating is rarely used (mainly because it would make the chocolate melt).
Hotel Chocolat does not sponsor, authorize, or endorse this site.
Companies with high ethical standards, like Hotel Chocolat, are more common than you think! Check out our blog about Lego Group’s eco-friendly practices.
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