Your chocolate purchase will impact population growth, for better or worse

A graph shows various predictions for human population growth until 2100. The most expected outcome is for the population to peak around 10 billion and then stabilize or decline before 2100. With improved family planning resources, the population may peak below 9 billion and drop to below current levels (8 billion) by 2100. Projections of the human global population to 2100. This is part of a GSP post examining the link between chocolate and population growth.

A growing human population threatens to place a burden our planet. Extreme poverty is a root cause of unsustainable population growth and is driven in part by commodity markets. That’s why it’s best to avoid multinational companies that rely on commodity markets and support chocolate companies that work directly with farmers.

Chocolate and deforestation

The traditional cabruca system for cacao farming in Brazil. The image, from Dengo Chocolate, shows an aerial view of a diverse rainforest containing cacao trees. Chocolate and Deforestation.

Chocolate plays a significant role in deforestation, particularly in West Africa. Avoid mainstream chocolate brands and seek out chocolate made from shade-grown cacao.

Top 10 Ethical Chocolate Brands

Top Ten Ethical Chocolate Brands. Logos for the top 10 ethical chocolate brands are shown. The list may change after user votes but initial brands are: Alter Eco, Equal Exchange, Theo, Endangered Species, Plamil, Tcho, Divine, Seed and Bean, Tony's Chocolonely, Beyond Good.

Here’s a guide to the top 10 ethical chocolate brands. It’s different to other guides in that it will change with your input – vote now! This is an exercise in user-generated ratings for ethical consumerism.

User-generated ratings for ethical consumerism

User-generated ratings for ethical consumerism. The image text reads: User-generated content in the form of Crowdsourced ratings for Ethical consumerism

I’m reluctant to create an ethical consumerism guide based only on my own opinion – it would be incomplete. We need a good, reliable guide that relies on user-generated content. The experiment starts next week!

Too Good To Go – an app to reduce food waste

Too Good To Go - logo for the company and app that combats food waste.

Too Good To Go is an app that allows you to buy heavily-discounted mystery bags of food that would have otherwise been wasted. Here’s more about Too Good To Go, a certified B-Corporation, and food waste in general.

Re-Up Refill Shop in Oakland

The Re-Up Refill Shop, based in Oakland, California, offers zero-waste solutions for most of the stuff that you need for your home. US residents dump more than their own body weight in plastic every year. Half of it is packaging.

Dairy vs vegan butters in Europe

Supermarket shelves are dominated by two kinds of butter: conventional dairy-based butter or plant-based vegan butter made from palm oil. Vegan butters are more sustainable than dairy butter, but ideally should be palm-oil free. I found two that I like.

The ethical issues with dairy farming

Still undecided whether to choose dairy or vegan butter? Using cow’s milk as an example, here’s a list of the three most basic ethical issues with dairy farming. Solutions are also explored.

Butter and vegan alternatives in Ireland

herd of white and black cows on grass field

Whenever I come home to Ireland I have the dilemma of which kind of butter to buy: conventional dairy-based butter or plant-based vegan butter. In California, the choice is pretty straightforward – it’s now fairly easy to find good-quality, ethical and affordable vegan butters. In Ireland, however, the choice is not so clear, as I’ll explain over the next couple of posts. Or at least it wasn’t a clear choice at first…