Many of us may have indulged in a treat or two yesterday – mostly those in the shape of eggs and bunnies, and mostly in the chocolate variety.
Whilst we all know that Easter isn’t actually about gorging ourselves on the sweet stuff, in today’s world, chocolate is arguably as big a part (if not bigger – see the Cadbury/National Trust drama from last week) of this annual holiday as the religious part is.
So is our need for vast quantities of chocolate sustainable? Well.. you guessed it. It’s not. Unfortunately, the cocoa crop is under huge threat from climate change, as it can only grow 10 degrees either side of the equator. Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire collectively produce over 50% of the cocoa beans in the world, but by 2050, both are expected to see average temperatures rising by 2.1*C – making the environments unsuitable for cocoa plants.
One study suggests that if our demand for chocolate continues to rise as is, and a changing climate begins to affect harvests, before 2020 we could be in short supply of our Easter treats.
So what can be done?
Well, as always, there isn’t a quick fix, and no single one of us is going to suddenly transform the chocolate industry into one which is more sustainable. However, what we can all do is to be aware of the chocolate brands that we buy. We need to support and invest in the companies which are acting ethically and responsibly in the environments within which they operate. Companies which are actively helping local farmers to learn more sustainable growing and harvesting techniques. And companies which recognise that climate change is a threat, and are therefore supporting initiatives to go about tackling it.
So this week’s change that you can make in the Sustainable Revolution: is that next time you fancy a little nibble of the dark stuff (or the milk and white stuff for that matter), don’t spend £5 on 73 bad quality Easter eggs. Instead, spend £5 on a smaller bar of delicious chocolate, which comes from a retailer which is trying to sustain the chocolate industry, so that Easter egg hunts need not become a thing of the past.