Ethical chocolate – What do you need to know about sustainability before Valentine’s Day?

With the impact of the new Corona, interest in ” ethical consumption ” is growing as consumers’ lifestyles and values are changing dramatically. Ethical consumption is an approach closely related to the twelfth goal of the SDGs, “responsibility to create and responsibility to sustain.

In a March 2021 survey, 30.9% of respondents said that the new Corona had increased their awareness of ethical consumption. In addition, a survey conducted before Valentine’s Day 2021 by Bace Corporation, which operates a chocolate specialty store, asked, “Would you like chocolate made from cacao beans that are more expensive than ordinary chocolate, but are made from cacao beans that are purchased through fair trade in addition to providing technical and environmental development support to farmers in developing countries? Do you want chocolate made from cacao beans purchased through fair trade? 58.7% of respondents answered “Yes” to the question “Do you want chocolate made from cacao beans purchased through fair trade? When combined with the 37.0% who answered “Yes, depending on how good it tastes,” 95.7% of respondents were interested in ethical chocolate.

Child labor, environmental destruction… What are the issues surrounding chocolate?

Behind the growing demand for such “ethical chocolate” is consumers’ awareness of the various environmental and social issues surrounding chocolate.

As many as 45% of children in agricultural households in cacao-producing regions, the raw material for chocolate, are engaged in child labor. Child labor refers to work that interferes with the compulsory education of children under the age of 15 and hazardous and harmful work by children under the age of 18, and is prohibited by international treaties and the laws of each country.

There is also a gender disparity, with women bearing 68% of the labor required for cacao cultivation, but earning only 21% of the income. As for cacao production areas, the expansion of cacao production has resulted in the loss of 59,000 ha (equivalent to 23 wards of Tokyo) of forest in major cacao production areas in the three years from 2019 to 2021, and it has been pointed out that cacao production in these major production areas may become impossible in the future.

In Asia, Latin America, and Africa, where sugar is produced, child labor still occurs in harvesting and weeding. When trading prices become too low due to fierce price competition, it is the young children who are forced into labor to keep production costs down. Even if they work all day long with knives in a plantation where poisonous snakes lurk, they are paid as little as $1 per week. It is said that there are various other environmental and social issues involved in large-scale sugar production, such as deforestation, the impact on the lives of local residents, the impact on biodiversity, and the health hazards caused by pesticides.

These issues surrounding chocolate have gradually become known to consumers, and in recent years, “fair trade” and other chocolates using organic or domestically produced cacao have become increasingly common in stores.

Global High Brand Unveils “Fair Trade Certified” Chocolate

On January 11, 2023, the luxury jewelry brand Bulgari unveiled an SDG-themed chocolate. The newly released “San Valentino 2023” represents the 17 goals of the SDGs in four flavors; among the four flavors, the “Almond Praline” chocolate is the first luxury brand in the world to obtain “International Fair Trade Certification”. In addition to fair trade, the brand incorporates various other sustainability initiatives such as food loss reduction, promotion of local production for local consumption, and cultivation using natural farming methods.

In addition, by partnering with business partners and producers who are active in the SDGs, including Fairtrade Labels Japan, a certified NPO, the 17th goal of the SDGs, “Achieve the Goals through Partnership,” has also been realized.

In a press release, Fairtrade Labels Japan Executive Director Mayuko Ushiozaki commented: “The social impact of Bulgari’s efforts is great, and we salute this new and wonderful initiative. The social impact of Bulgari’s efforts is significant, and we salute this new and wonderful initiative. We hope that the rapid expansion of fair trade in Japan in recent years will be further accelerated.”

Famous chocolatier uses “Child Labor Free Cacao”.

In addition, Chocolatier Palais d’Or, a brand specializing in chocolate created by renowned chocolatier Shunsuke Saegusa, will launch two types of chocolate cakes using “Child Labor Free Cacao” from Ghana on January 29, 2023.

Child Labor Free Cacao is an international fair trade certified cacao harvested in the cacao producing areas of Ghana where ACE, a certified non-profit organization, has implemented a project to eliminate child labor in the cacao producing areas of Ghana. ACE has established a system for continuous monitoring to ensure that there is no child labor in the area.

A portion of the proceeds from the sales of the “Sachertorte Ghana” and “Gateau Paled’Or” will be donated to support cocoa farmers in Ghana.

Chocolatier Palais d’Or, which operates five stores nationwide and an online store, handles all processes from cacao bean selection and roasting in-house, and the products produced in its workshop have won numerous awards at the International Chocolate Awards Asia and World Competitions, as well as at the British Academy of Chocolate. The products produced at the workshop have won numerous awards at the International Chocolate Awards Asia and World Competitions, as well as the British Academy of Chocolate.

Cacao Trace Certified” chocolate for the hotel’s dessert buffet.

Kobe Kitano Hotel, an auberge known for the “world’s best breakfast,” offers smooth “mousse chocolat” made with Puratos, a chocolate certified by Cacao Trace that is returned to cacao producers, and “tablets” to enjoy its original flavor as part of the night dessert buffet menu.

Cacao Trace is a sustainable program launched to provide technical support to cacao growers and improve the quality of chocolate for the future. Through technical assistance to cacao growers, the program provides long-term support to help them improve their income, living standards, and self-reliance. The program also aims to improve the flavor and stabilize the quality of chocolate through the production and processing of high-quality cacao. In addition, a portion of the chocolate price is returned to cacao producers to support them. Currently, the company is expanding its activities to Vietnam, Cote d’Ivoire, the Philippines, Papua New Guinea, and other regions.

Before Valentine’s Day, well-known brands, people, and hotels with the ability to communicate will adopt and communicate chocolates that take social and environmental issues into consideration, which will further increase awareness of ” ethical” chocolates in the future. Chocolate is also an everyday ingredient in desserts and drinks at restaurants. Customers who are highly concerned about sustainability may be interested in what kind of chocolate is used in restaurants.

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[Reference site] Just before Valentine’s Day, a survey was conducted! 91% of those who have heard of “ethical” are interested in ethical chocolate! 53.4% of respondents want ethical chocolate even if it is more expensive than ordinary chocolate!
[Reference site] Bulgari Il Cioccolato San Valentino 2023 “Almond Praline” became the first luxury brand in the world to obtain an international fair trade certification license.
[Reference site] Bulgari Il Cioccolato San Valentino 2023 on sale on January 12 (Thursday) for a limited time only.
[Reference site] Chocolatier Palais de l’Or: SDGs also for Valentine’s Day! Contribute to supporting child labor-free cacao by eating delicious cacao!
[Reference site] Kobe Kitano Hotel] March 2 (Mon.) – April 30 (Thu.), 2020: Party atmosphere with sweet and sour aroma Night Dessert Buffet ~Tower of Berries~.
[Reference site] Acquired the “Cacao Trace” certification mark, the first program of its kind in the chocolate industry!

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