Be a standard bearer in the effort to make sustainably produced chocolate and work to reverse climate change. Period. Full stop.
Our concern about sustainability, the environment, and climate change long predates the founding of Xocolatl Chocolate. So when we created Xocolatl we knew we wanted to create something more than a chocolate company. The goal was to build a business that lived up to our values. Building an environmentally sustainable business has been a priority from day one. So, what does that mean? Where do you start?
Elaine and Matt’s son looking out over rainforest on a cacao farm in Nicaragua.
From the very beginning we worked to source sustainably grown cacao, sugar, and other ingredients, as well as packaging and supplies (not always successfully), and we did other things like recycling, using an electric car for deliveries, and composting the cacao husks leftover from our chocolate making, but we knew this wasn’t nearly enough.
We knew we needed to measure our impact on the environment. So that’s what we did.
In 2021, we commissioned a friend (and former Xocolatl Chocolate Maker) who was completing a graduate program at Georgia Tech to do a Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) of our chocolate bars. An LCA measures the amount of Greenhouse Gas emissions (GHG) that are released in the process of making a bar of our chocolate—and we included everything. We gathered information from farmers (on three different continents) on the vehicles they use to transport beans to the fermentary, from the mill that makes the paper for our wrappers (good news, they’re 100% recycled paper made in a factory powered by 100% renewable energy), from our own power bills, and dozens of other inputs to calculate the total emissions related to making a bar of chocolate. The result?
No Finish Line
Most companies that have done what we’ve done would claim to be carbon neutral. Hell, based on the accepted standards we could probably claim to be carbon negative (meaning we’re removing more GHG from the atmosphere than we’re responsible for pumping out). But we think there are a lot of issues with how companies calculate these things (carbon credits in particular). Because of that we’ve attempted to go beyond the accepted standards for being “carbon neutral”, and we know the reality is we all have a lot more work to do.
Over the next year we plan on transitioning all of our packaging into compostable or recyclable materials, doing a full Greenhouse Gas Inventory (adding up the carbon footprint of everything we use not related to chocolate making—our farmers’ market tents, paper clips, etc), updating our LCA to include all of our new production equipment in our new factory,and identifying ways we can further reduce our carbon footprint instead of offsetting it.
This is a long journey and there is no finish line, but we’re going to keep building a chocolate company that makes as small an impact on the environment as possible and one that brings joy to your day.
With love for you and our planet,
Elaine, Matt, and the whole Xocolatl team
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