In today's world, where the impacts of climate change are increasingly felt, especially in countries of the Global South, the responsibility of companies concerning the environment and society is of paramount importance. More and more companies are setting ambitious goals to minimize their ecological footprints and make a positive contribution to addressing the climate crisis, just like fairafric. But what does it really mean to be climate-neutral or even climate-positive?
Climate-Neutral Business Practices
Let's start with the basics: the so-called carbon footprint is the sum of all CO2 emissions associated with a particular action, such as producing chocolate in Ghana. If the CO2 footprint is positive, the action causes significant and often irreversible harm to the environment and our ecosystem. In Germany alone, more than 750 tons of greenhouse gas emissions are generated every year (Umweltbundesamt 2021), causing significant environmental damage, and companies have a non-negligible share in this. Unfortunately, a positive carbon footprint is often impossible to avoid completely. Therefore, companies either directly reduce emissions or offset them through compensation measures to operate climate-neutrally. These measures may include reforestation projects, the use of renewable energy, energy efficiency improvements, and other environmentally friendly initiatives. Compensation service providers like our partner, natureOffice, offer the opportunity to offset CO2 emissions. Being climate-neutral as a company means, in essence, not causing harm to the environment.
Solar-Powered Chocolate Factory in Ghana
Ghana enjoys over 2,370 hours of sunshine annually, so why not harness the power of the sun for chocolate production? When constructing our factory amid cocoa plantations, it was essential for us that it be energy-efficient and environmentally friendly. This is why 578 solar panels adorn the roof of our factory, generating approximately 16,500.25 kWh per month. This eco-friendly energy source significantly reduces CO2 emissions and thus substantially minimizes our ecological footprint.
More than 3 tons of plastic end up in German landfills every year. It is estimated that approximately 86 million tons of plastic waste have been dumped into our oceans. This is an unimaginable amount of waste that severely harms the environment. In our quest for the perfect eco-friendly and functional packaging for our chocolate, we came across NatureFlex film. This film is made from wood pulp sourced from sustainable forestry and is fully compostable. This allows us to completely eliminate plastic or aluminum foil.
Offsetting CO2 Emissions
Despite our efforts to operate as environmentally friendly as possible, there are emissions that are still unavoidable. Since our chocolate is produced in Ghana, West Africa, transportation is necessary. We choose the somewhat more environmentally friendly maritime route to ship the chocolate from the port city of Tema to our warehouse in Bremen. Seventy-five percent of the world's cocoa comes from West Africa, meaning that transportation for chocolate enjoyment in Europe, for example, is always necessary. This transportation generates emissions that we offset with the help of our partner, natureOffice. We support the Project Togo, which includes reforestation efforts in Ghana's neighboring country and promotes energy-efficient stoves.
Fairafric Aims to be Climate-Positive
Being climate-neutral is no longer enough for us; we want to give back more to the environment. We aim to be climate-positive. Through dynamic agroforestry on our cocoa farms, we can offset our chocolate's CO2 footprint fourfold. This means that for each fairafric chocolate bar, more CO2 will disappear from the atmosphere and be stored in the soil in West Africa.
Working Together for Climate Justice
Despite increasing efforts to be environmentally friendly, climate change continues to advance. Places around the world are becoming less habitable due to inhospitable climate conditions and resource scarcity. Countries in the Global South, in particular, are affected by the effects of climate change – the very countries that have contributed the least to it. Economically prosperous countries are actively destroying habitats for people who are already suffering from global injustices. The fact remains that only 10 highly industrialized countries on our planet account for two-thirds of total CO2 emissions (EDGAR, European Commission, 2022). Meanwhile, primarily countries in the Global South, such as those in Africa and Southeast Asia, are hit by natural disasters like droughts, floods, pest infestations, and crop failures related to climate change.
Our Swiss Fair Trade partner, Claro, is also committed to climate justice beyond Fair Trade and donates 5% of the proceeds from all products in the "Zmorge" (Breakfast) collection to the EFTA Climate Justice Fund as part of the "Zmorge for a Happy Climate" campaign. Our chocolate is, of course, part of this initiative! The campaign supports projects in the Global South, making it easier for producers to cope with the devastating effects of climate change in their region and produce their goods in a more climate-friendly manner.
More climate justice means creating a balance for the people who are most severely affected by the consequences of climate change, even though they have contributed to it the least. It's clear that climate change is progressing, but we can determine the pace, with companies taking responsibility, operating in an environmentally friendly manner, and advocating for a greener future for our planet. Discover now our climate neutral chocolates.