Chocolate Goes Green: Kraft Rolls out Sustainable Sweet Treats

Move over Willy Wonka, a different type of chocolate will soon be coming to a store near you.

Kraft Foods recently announced it is launching a type of chocolate derived from sustainable cocoa farming.   The premium dark chocolate, Cote d’Or, contains cocoa from farms that meets Rainforest Alliance Certified standards.  Cote d’Or chocolate will first launch in France and Belgium.   The sweet treat will then roll out in Germany, Spain, Hungary, Poland, Portugal, Netherlands, Canada, UK and the US.   The special seal will be added to Kraft’s Marabou chocolate brand in Sweden, Denmark and Finland.  And finally, the sustainable chocolate will be available in Switzerland and Austria under Kraft’s Suchard brand.

Cocoa, Theobroma cacao, is farmed on more than 18 million acres of tropical land.  About 3 million tons of cocoa is produced each year, with about 70 percent coming from West Africa.

Partnering with various businesses, organizations and associations, the Rainforest Alliance encourages the use of sustainable cocoa farming practices which not only help the environment, but help with working conditions. Certification is awarded by an independent international company based on 10 specific ecological, social and economic criteria.

More than 3,000 cocoa farmers in six communities have learned sustainable agricultural practices.  By using such measures, the farmers have healthier crops and higher productivity,  resulting in a higher income and better living condition for families.  Other benefits in using long-term sustainable ag practices include the fair treatment and good working conditions for workers, protection of wildlife, water conservation and rainforest conservation.  A win-win for all!

Kraft has been working with the Rainforest Alliance since 2005.   The company, committed to using beans derived from certified farms, has agreed to purchase 30,000 tons of the Rainforest Alliance Certified sustainable cocoa beans by the end of 2012.  Now, that’s a lot of chocolate!

And Kraft isn’t the only company to jump on the sustainable cocoa band-wagon.  Earlier this year, Mars announced its chocolate products will be made from sustainable sources by 2020.  The company has partnered with Rainforest Alliance for over 10 years.   Cadbury’s Dairy Milk chocolate bars in Britain and Ireland carry the FAIRTRADE seal.   Fairtrade promotes environmentally and socially responsible business practices, including bans on forced labor, including child labor.  The Dairy Milk brand chocolate bars will be certified in Canada, Australia and New Zealand in 2010.

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As a full-time freelance writer, Jace is the Internet Feature Writer for Suite101 and is the Holidays and Working Moms Examiner for Examiner.com. She is a regular contributor for Energy Boom, EcoWorldly and PlanetSave. She particularly enjoys writing about unusual and downright wacky environmental stories and issues plaguing wildlife and animals.Besides writing, Jace is also passionate about online safety and issues concerning children. As an Internet Safety educator, she teaches online safety and technology to 600 elementary-aged children every week for her local school district.Jace has two children who are both in college and is also mom to a slew of pets. Feel free to contact her with story leads or just drop her a note at jacer@siber-net.com.