Put Down That Big-Name Chocolate - Grab These Fair or Direct Trade Bars Instead!

Submitted by cchen on October 1, 2021
Photo by Simone van der Koelen on Unsplash

Green America’s chocolate scorecard included a few new brands that are leaders. The scorecard’s ratings are still heavily based on efforts to combat child labor, but we’ve added a new category on deforestation, one of the many issues facing the cocoa industry.

As large chocolate companies continue to explore and refine how they can go beyond certification to improve the lives of farmers, fair trade and direct trade chocolate companies have been placing farmers front and center of their business models for years. 

Below, we highlight some A-rated chocolate companies and point you to where to buy them. 

After 20 years of broken corporate promises, there are still over 1 million child laborers in cocoa.

Alter Eco 

All of Alter Eco’s products are made with ingredients sourced directly from small-scale farms it partners with. In addition to having Fair Trade Certified cocoa and paying farmer co-ops a premium for their cocoa, Alter Eco also provides targeted assistance to its cocoa farmers. This assistance addresses issues that farmers and their co-ops may face, such as food assistance, gender equality, and biodiversity. 

Where to buy: https://www.alterecofoods.com/apps/store-locator

Check out their truffles here!

Alter Eco

 

Beyond Good 

Beyond Good's cocoa beans come from Madagascar (and soon Uganda), and their chocolate is organic. Beyond Good has a radically different supply chain when compared to big name chocolate companies - they cut out the middlemen so Beyond Good has a direct relationship with cocoa farmers. This has resulted in farmers making 6X more than the industry standard. In addition to prioritizing cocoa farmers, Beyond Good is prioritizing the environment; their agroforestry practices have led to 5 species of endangered lemurs living where their cocoa is grown!

Where to buy: https://www.beyondgood.com/shop/all-products

Beyond Good

 

Divine Chocolate 

Like many other companies on this list, Divine Chocolate has a direct relationship with the cocoa co-op it sources from, Kuapa Kokoo. But Divine and Kuapa Kokoo don’t just have a direct relationship – Kuapa Kokoo owns 20% of Divine Chocolate. Kuapa Kokoo farmers also have seats on Divine’s Board of Directors. Farmer representation is key to improving farmer livelihood, and Divine’s business model allows Kuapa Kokoo, which has over 80,000 farmer members, to have a voice in key business decisions. Divine Chocolate is certified Green Business Member. 

Where to buy: https://www.divinechocolate.com/us/stockist

Divine Chocolate

 

Endangered Species 

Endangered Species is the first American-made chocolate to use fully traceable cocoa sourced from West Africa. This means that, in addition to paying higher prices for cocoa and paying a premium that can be invested in community projects, Endangered Species can track their beans to the very farms they source from. This increased transparency is welcome, as the cocoa supply chain in West Africa can be long and opaque. Endangered Species is certified Green Business Member. 

Where to buy: https://www.chocolatebar.com/where-to-buy/

Endangered Species Chocolate

 

Equal Exchange 

Equal Exchange is one of the pioneers of the fair trade chocolate movement, and to this day is so dedicated to worker co-ops that the company itself is worker owned too. Equal Exchange continues to adhere to the fair trade movement in the strictest sense, and has direct relationships with over 40 small farming co-ops. Equal Exchange is certified Green Business Member. 

Where to buy: Select Whole Foods, Walmarts, and Targets. But we would encourage you to look for Equal Exchange products in your locally owner grocers and organic markets. Equal Exchange also has a robust, easy-to-use online store.

Check out their minis here!

Equal Exchange

 

Theo  

Theo has direct relationships with cocoa cooperatives in Peru and the Democratic Republic of Congo. It negotiates prices with farmer co-ops directly, provides training on good agricultural practices, and is transparent with farmers about pricing and payments. Theo also works with the different cocoa communities it sources from to develop meaningful projects tailored to their needs. Theo is certified Green Business Member. 

Where to buy: https://www.theochocolate.com/products/

Theo

 

Tony’s Chocolonely

Tony’s Chocolonely is a Dutch brand, aiming to show the big chocolate brands that sustainable chocolate is possible. Tony’s chocolate is 100% fair trade certified and they pay an even higher price to cocoa farmers then required by fair trade’s standards. Tony’s entire cocoa supply is from West Africa; this is because they are trying to create change where it is needed the most.

Where to buy: https://tonyschocolonely.com/us/en/chocoshop/products/big-bars

Check out their tiny tony’s here!

This is, of course, not a complete list of alternative chocolate companies that are helping farmers on the ground – we are at a time where ethical chocolate alternatives are gaining larger footholds in the marketplace. 

Tonys

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