Large-scale chocolate production is threatening the health and sustainability of our planet. In order to produce cacao at a greater volume for a cheaper price, chocolate companies continue cutting and burning millions of acres of rainforest that our very existence depends on. This is known as the “slash and burn” method, used by companies such as Nutella and Nestlé, where forested land is clear-cut and any remaining vegetation is burned to make way for the crop.

There are many problems that result from this method of growing crops including deforestation, loss of habitat and species, increased air pollution and the release of carbon into the atmosphere— which accounts for an estimated 20% increase in global climate change. Slash and burn agriculture also results in significant soil erosion: without trees, vegetation and their root systems, the soil washes away during heavy rains and blows away during droughts.

Along with cacao farming, most chocolate companies also heavily invest in the production and extraction of palm oil, used to mask the inferior quality of their chocolate products. Palm oil production is even more harmful than cocoa farming as it is often produced on peatlands (wetlands with a thick water-logged organic soil layer) which release enormous amounts of CO2 when cleared and drained. Visit this link for a list of chocolates that contain palm oil: (http://www.deforestationeducation.com/candy-list-the-good-and-bad.php)

Unfortunately, the growth of cocoa farming and palm oil production have had serious consequences on deforestation, biodiversity, and climate change.

The good news is that you have a choice. There are companies like Cholaca that are making a serious effort to sustainably grow cacao and refuse to use palm oil. We engage in a practice called regenerative agriculture that focuses on building and maintaining soil health. Our cacao trees grow under the canopy in the Choco rainforest of Ecuador alongside grapefruits, mangos, avocados, limes, ginger, and more.

Cholaca works diligently with local farmers in the Esmeralda’s Province of Ecuador to establish and maintain a sustainable ecosystem while empowering them with just compensation to provide for their families and participate in the legal economy. And we never burn forests.

Every time you drink Cholaca you are contributing to our mission of purchasing and preserving a 1,300 acre patch of beautiful primary coastal rainforest in the Choco. The video above shows aerial footage of the land.

This area is already at threat of being taken over by real estate developers from China to build hotel resort monstrosities so that a few rich people can benefit at the expense of our Earth. We refuse to let this happen.

Our goal is to purchase the land within the next two years, however in the meantime we must prevent the government from allowing further construction on the land. We are creating a proposal to present to the Ecuadorian government with compelling reasons as to why they must protect this area. Part of this proposal will be a virtual petition from 5,000 people in the United States and Ecuador each with a personal reason as to why the rainforest should be preserved. Click here to sign the petition.