Nom Nom Nom! Chocolate Production and Sustainability

Photo credit: Merissa Mueller

Recap: Merissa attends Sustainable Business Conference on Friday February 11th, in order to finally prevail over her siblings during a dinner table discussion regarding globalization. She learns plenty of interesting things about incorporating sustainability into the business workplace and how it is NOT detrimental but beneficial to businesses (example: identifying steps within a product’s life cycle analysis that waste can be limited by remanufacturing/recycling material, saving money and my planet).

Furthermore, she eats delicious vegetarian and vegan foods because the conference was catered by Depanneur Sylvestre and finally understands the term “Business Casual”. Overall, Friday was an amazing success and congratulations to the Tefler School of Management for holding such an informative conference featuring some incredibly knowledgeable people.

Application: Interestingly enough, the next day I stumbled upon some sustainability in practice, or rather, more of a dire warning for those who do not practice sustainability. The Globe and Mail’s Jessica Leeder wrote an article entitled “Savour that chocolate while you can still afford it”, emphasizing the predicted rise in chocolate prices due to the current cocoa production practices.

The main farmers of cocoa reside in the Ivory Coast and Ghana and have small, subsistence farms due to the strenuous process required to secure good yields. The beans require constant attention and therefore large monoculture farms cannot be formed, resulting in rising prices because large corporations are unable to industrialize the growing operations.

Plan: Mr. John Mason, executive director of the Nature Conservation Research Centre, a non-profit group devoted to sustainable development and resource conservation, has formulated a plan in order to reduce further ecological strain. The aim of this plan is to pay farmers that are located on “at risk” land to stop farming and provide incentives to those who are located on fertile land.

Also, the replacement of old trees with specialized hybrids that are proven to be more successful in the Ghanaian climate along with the addition of fertilizers in order to maximize yields while not exhausting the soils.

Currently, the project has no means of funding but Mason is presently in communication with Cocobod (state-run cocoa-marketing board) and the United Nation’s Programme on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation in Developing Countries. Personally, I hope he gets the funding he requires as chocolate is not something I am willing to pay a bajillion dollars for.

-merissa
http://thesustainabilitree.blogspot.com

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