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

Tofino beckons Trudeau back for Easter vacation

Environmental group hopes latest Pacific Rim vacation inspires change in prime minister

Many teens unaware if they’re vaping nicotine or not

Health Canada survey finds many youth are unaware of the risks of using nicotine products

Pacific FC puts its best foot forward for inaugural game

Players ‘counting down’ to kick-off day

Andrea Rondeau column: Why the Notre Dame fire touched us all

None of us could look away from the sight of the fire

Oak Bay double murder trial enters second week

Defence continues to question police handling of crime scene

WATCH: Police call Happy Valley shooting an ‘isolated and targeted’ incident

One person in custody, another fled following crash on Kelly Road

B.C.’s largest Vaisakhi festival target of threatening Facebook post: Surrey RCMP

Police say they are investigating the posts on Facebook, after local MLA forwarded screenshots

Murder on B.C. property didn’t need to be disclosed before sale, court rules

Buyer had tried to break contract after learning a man with ties to crime had been murdered there

Defence accuses officer of ‘incompetence’ in trial for B.C. man charged with daughters’ murders

Double murder trial for the Victoria father accused of killing his two young daughters continues

B.C. man turned to dating site for pimp operation, court hears

In court the details of how Simon Rypiak lured 4 women into prostitution revealed

Regional district chips in for Parksville goose harvest

City asked regional district to pay one-third of $35K expense

Two dogs rescued from Colwood house fire

Black Labrador retriever rescued and revived by West Shore crews

Lantzville looking to ban beach fires as youths aren’t respecting beaches

Lantzville the only municipality south of Comox Valley that allows beach fires, district staff say

Should B.C. parents receive money if they make sure their kids are vaccinated?

New survey looks at public opinion around government’s role in forcing immunizations

Most Read