Climate conscious chocolate, Ombar, wants to change the industry dialogue from carbon neutrality to climate sustainable.
Chocolate companies already in fact, consider all significant Green House Gases (GHG) as part of their sustainability reporting, but since the public still thinks in terms of carbon neutrality, Ombar has started referring to a Climate Footprint in their marketing.
For example, the company claims to be the first chocolate company to include a climate footprint label on their range of Oat M’lk bars.
Their mission, in their own words, is to create a “healthier, more ethical chocolate without compromise.”
They plan to meet this ethical ambition by eroding waste, and treating producers fairly. In practical terms, this means taking steps such as selling ‘Bags of Broken Bars’ to give purpose to chocolate that didn’t quite make it to the bar, (a simple solution we know smaller chocolate makers like Enjoy Chocolate already do). They also pay a premium over Fairtrade prices for their Cocoa, to ensure farmers are paid a living wage, calculated for each country.
All of their cacao is sourced directly from Ecuador, and is certified organic, vegan and Fairtrade. It’s nice to see organic on the label, since some producers find it hard to get a return on the investment required to be classified organic.
Ombar works with CarbonCloud to calculate the impact of their food products on the environment. As a result, Ombar is now able to display their climate footprint on each bar of chocolate they sell, which puts some quantitative data behind their environmental claims.
CarbonCloud is a group comprised of researchers on food and climate change, with a goal to “assess how much each edible item in the grocery store contributes to global warming.”
The term ‘Climate Footprint’ is used in place of the more recognisable ‘Carbon Footprint’, as they believe that it is a more accurate representation of the information.
For many food products, it is nitrous oxide that stands for the largest climate impact, which has nothing to do with carbon. Therefore we use the term ‘climate footprint’.
Reading through the company’s blog, one paragraph stood out, because it’s one you’ve heard us talk about previously at bartalks. The use of carbon credits to allow companies to claim ‘green credentials’ by simply writing a cheque.
Whether a product can be “climate neutral” is an interesting and complicated question. We hold the following position: If the life cycle of a product leads to a net release of greenhouse gases, the product should not be referred to as “climate neutral” even if the emissions are compensated for with carbon offsets.Climate Cloud website blog
The Oat M’lk bars also display a helpful comparison beside their climate footprint label, informing consumers that their bar has half the carbon footprint of a ‘regular’ chocolate bar. This gives customers a useful reference point, since the average consumer is unlikely to be informed about the carbon emissions of other chocolate brands.
We welcome the move, which provides at least some independence on the environmental claims. This is a preferable approach to the practices of some others, which use organisations related to the parent chocolate company to provide sustainability credentials.