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Sustainable Chocolate

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There is a statistic floating around that claims chocolate as we know it will be extinct by 2050. What does this mean? At the current rate of climate change, the crop of cocoa is set to go extinct by 2050. At this rate, the cocoa plant is susceptible to insects and heat that will wither the crop.

Of course, this is an estimate and does not account for the fact there are major corporations and universities doing everything within their power to stop this from happening. The Mars corporation — the people who bring us Snickers bars — developed a “Sustainability in a Generation” campaign, which aims to reduce its carbon footprint by 60 percent. This is an impressive commitment by any standard. They have pledged $1 billion to this cause. In conjunction with this pledge, UC Berkeley is collaborating with Mars to engineer a crop of plants that will not die under the currently projected climate. With both of these initiatives in place, chocolate has a fighting chance.

As consumers, it is also possible to participate in this sustainability effort by buying responsibly sourced brands of chocolate. Mars, once again, comes out ahead of the rest by sponsoring the cocoa exchange, which supports local chocolate makers. In general, buying organic and fair-trade chocolate ensures you are buying ethically sourced chocolate, but consult a list of ethical chocolate companies to be sure.

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