A field work meeting in West Africa. (Photo courtesy of the University of Victoria)

Future of chocolate could be grim, says Victoria-based expert

UVic geographer looks to raise awareness about sustainability of chocolate

With Valentine’s Day right around the corner, many are thinking of chocolate – or at least they will be very soon.

But new research by University of Victoria geographer Sophia Carodenuto poses some questions about the sustainability of this beloved treat.

“Raising consumer awareness of chocolate’s origins, the deforestation it may be causing, and the poverty-stricken cocoa farmers is a priority,” Carodenuto said.

She has been working with government agencies and cocoa farmers since 2012 to identify options for improving the sustainability of cocoa in three African countries, where an estimated two million farmers produce approximately three-quarters of the world’s cocoa.

READ ALSO: Feds pump $3.5M into UVic climate research centre

She published a paper Tuesday, Jan. 29, providing specific recommendations for the future of cocoa farming amidst the pressures of climate change, soil erosion and deforestation.

But the business of chocolate is shifting, two years ago 12 of the world’s leading cocoa and chocolate companies made a collective public commitment to end the deforestation associated with cocoa. Carodenuto’s paper examines this emerging pledge and looks at its impacts on farmers, domestic political policies and poverty.

“If we know where the cocoa beans originated, we will know if the cocoa farm is committed to zero-deforestation practices,” explained Carodenuto, noting measurement and monitoring of impacts requires supply chain traceability.

READ ALSO: Breakthrough in brain health thanks to UVic researchers

“As it stands, there are no publicly available maps of West Africa’s cocoa farms,” she added. “And there is a long way to go in the struggle towards deforestation-free cocoa and chocolate. We need to think beyond niche labels such as Fair Trade to address the sustainability of mass-produced chocolate in our cereals and cheap chocolate bars.”

She pointed to a lack of basic labelling indicating the origins of cocoa in most store-bought chocolate bars and boxes of chocolate and the lack of a significant campaign that would draw public attention to the issues.

Carodenuto outlines a number of recommendations to help cocoa farmers, governments and businesses work together toward sustainable production.


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Editorial: If you do anything today, it’s get out and vote

Voting is vital to maintain what our country is and improve what it can be

Environment Canada issues gale warnings for most of Vancouver Island

Gale warnings in effect for most of Vancouver Island and west coast Mainland

Vancouver Island children’s author wins American award for The Moon Watched it All

Ladysmith’s Shelley Leedahl’s book took gold in the All Ages Picture Book category

Vancouver Island-penned musical sluggish and proud of it

VIU theatre department debuts instructor’s original new musical, ‘SlugFest’

Western Speedway racing legend ‘The Flying Plumber’ turns 98

Dave Cooper recalls car crashes, his first win, and more

BC Ferries crew member taken to hospital after getting struck by bow doors

Two sailings between Horseshoe Bay and Departure Bay were cancelled

Greta Thunberg meets with First Nations chief in Fort McMurray

Thunberg has turned her protest against climate change into a global movement

Canucks hang on for 3-2 win over Rangers in New York

Vancouver scores three times in first period

More beef products recalled due to possible E. coli contamination

The food safety watchdog has been investigating possible E. coli 0157:H7

B.C. VIEWS: How to get the best deal on your ICBC car insurance

ICBC slowly being dragged into the 21st century

Pot legalization has gone ‘well’, but ‘yellow flags’ on vaping: task force chair

Canada legalized cannabis for non-medical use on Oct. 17, 2018,

Most Read