Supporting the work of SOS, the Sumatran Orangutan Society, to help reforest Sumatra
Since launch in December 2018, as of mid October 2020, we have funded the planting of 4,136 cocoa tree seedlings in Sumatra through the sale of our chocolate orangutans, Tuan & Tuantoo (our dark chocolate, vegan-friendly version). We donate £3.50 from the sale of each one & that enables the SOS team on the ground in Sumatra to plant 2 cocoa tree seedlings.
Click here to read our latest update Blog on our work with SOS in Sumatra
The cocoa tree planting programme is part of a wider reforestation initiative to help both reforest the habitat of the orangutans, and also to give the local farmers another crop to expand their income streams. By growing a diverse range of crops, it will help encourage them stop chopping down virgin rainforest to grow palm as a monoculture for the oil. The areas of land being reforested by SOS were destroyed by illegal palm oil plantations.
Ever since launching Chococo back in 2002, we have refused to work with any chocolate or ingredients containing palm oil and feel strongly about doing our bit to help repair some of the environmental damage done by this increasingly pervasive monoculture crop. The palms that produce the oil are cheap and quick to grow, this oil is in high demand due to our expectation of eating cheap food (& for cheap cosmetics and many other products) and so virgin rainforest is being cleared at an alarming rate to grow it. Sadly, even small scale farmers would rather chop down virgin rainforest, as they can also secure additional revenue for the hardwood timber, than work harder to maximise the use of land already cleared for farming.
As a planet, we are past the point of being able to cut out palm oil in the food chain completely but, what we can do is stop any further rainforest destruction and start to reclaim and rewild land destroyed illegally by large scale plantations. It is shocking just how much rainforest has been lost in Sumatra alone and SOS are doing what they can to both protect the remaining pockets of forest and re-create forest corridors to help the orangutans move safely between these forest areas.
So far, c2,000 trees that we have funded have been planted, alongside taller shade trees, in a 2 hectare plot. Further plots will be planted in 2021, so this is a long term project for us!
It takes c5 years for a cocoa tree to mature and fruit pods that can be harvested for their precious beans inside which once fermented & dried, can be processed to make chocolate. So not only will these cocoa trees provide a new income stream for the local farmers, and help incentivise them to protect the rainforests, but they will provide a fruity treat for the orangutans as they love breaking cocoa pods open to enjoy the sweet white fruit surrounding each cocoa bean inside!
By the way, the box that our orangutans are presented in is made of 80% recycled consumer plastic & is 100% recyclable.
Supporting the SEA LIFE Trust to help protect the world's oceans
For Easter 2020, we partnered with the Sea Life Trust, a marine conservation charity based in nearby Poole here in Dorset, dedicated to helping to protect the world's oceans.
As Chococo started in Swanage by the seaside in Dorset & our co-founders Claire & Andy are keen sailors (Claire actually raced around the world in the BT Global Challenge Round the World yacht race back in 1996/7!), we are very connected to the sea. Doing more to help a marine conservation charity feels like the right thing to do as everyone becomes more aware of the impacts on ocean life caused by plastic pollution & global warming.
The SEA LIFE Trust is a registered charity (no. 1175859) working globally to protect the world’s oceans and the amazing marine life that lives within them. Their vision is of a world where our seas are healthy, protected and full of diverse life. It does a diverse array of work to help our oceans, including protecting sea turtles, owning and operating marine sanctuaries, combating overfishing, reducing ocean litter and protecting marine life.
For Easter 2020, we created a range of Ocean Eggs, from our 175g boxed Ocean eggs available online & in our shops, up to our 2.5kg Ocean Giant (did you see what we did there?) egg, with us donating an amount to the SeaLife trust for each one sold.
Each egg studded inside with chocolate turtles & starfish & is hand-decorated with naturally coloured waves (the blue colour is spirulina) with a light dusting of edible shimmer.
We donated 50p from each boxed Ocean Egg sold, up to £10 for each Ocean Giant Egg sold and raised over £500 which we were very pleased with, given the negative impact on sales lockdown of our 4 chocolate houses had on us 3 weeks before Easter. We look forward to continuing our partnership with the SEA LIFE Trust in 2021.
By the way, the removable plastic front you can see on the box in the photo below, is actually made of 80% recycled plastic content & is 100% recyclable. Further, the giant eggs in our shops are wrapped in compostable cornstarch cellophane.