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

Woman charged in Saanichton stabbing

One man treated for injuries, released from hospital following Friday assault

Sooke’s First Nations have Iroquois links

References to the proud Iroquois race tend to make one think of… Continue reading

Avid Victoria cyclist’s legacy bike ride helps fund end-of-life care

2019 Denis Muloin Ride for Palliative Care invites cyclists for May 26 fundraiser

Funnyman coming to the West Shore

Comedy and television staple Billy Gardell performs at Elements Casino

Police-run Youth for Change and Inclusion camp bids fond farewell to tireless directors

Founder Sgt. Paul Brookes has run camp empowering youth and creating leaders for 16 years

VIDEO: Fun without sun: Hundreds enjoy Family Fest on Victoria Day

Families enjoy activities in Veterans Memorial Park

Top women’s hockey player Natalie Spooner coming to B.C.

Natalie Spooner special guest at annual Grindstone charity weekend in Kelowna

Take-home drug testing kits latest pilot to help curb B.C.’s overdose crisis

Researchers look to see if fentanyl testing could be a useful tool for those who use drugs alone

Facebook takes down anti-vaxxer page that used image of late Canadian girl

Facebook said that the social media company has disabled the anti-vaccination page

Search crews rescue kids, 6 and 7, stranded overnight on Coquitlam mountain

Father and two youngsters fall down a steep, treacherous cliff while hiking Burke Mountain

Raptors beat Bucks 118-112 in 2OT thriller

Leonard has 36 points as Toronto cuts Milwaukee’s series lead to 2-1

‘Teams that win are tight’: B.C. Lions search for chemistry at training camp

The Lions added more than 50 new faces over the off-season, from coaching staff to key players

Rescue crews suspend search for Okanagan kayaker missing for three days

71-year-old Zygmunt Janiewicz was reported missing Friday

B.C. VIEWS: Reality of our plastic recycling routine exposed

Turns out dear old China wasn’t doing such a great job

Most Read