March 25, 2024 | CTV News via UVic News

While cocoa is not the only ingredient that goes into commercially available chocolate products, it is likely that its climate change induced scarcity has contributed to the increasing prices of those chocolate products. Cocoa is grown in a relatively concentrated geographical area, meaning that the effects of climate change and disease in these regions are dearly felt in the cocoa farming industry.

UVic’s Dr. Sophia Carodenuto explains that deforestation of rainforests in West Africa, for example, has reduced the biological diversity that cocoa naturally thrives amongst, thus leading to more vulnerable crops. She encourages consumers to look at where the cocoa in the chocolate they buy is coming from and, even though it may be more expensive, to prioritize purchasing candy containing ethically sourced ingredients. This can help contribute to the sustainability of cocoa growing and ensure that farmers are not punished for climate change’s effects.

Dr. Carodenuto is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Geography whose research focuses on forest governance, particularly in tropical forests. She is passionate about environmental sustainability and international development.

If you would like to read more about Dr. Carodenuto’s work with regards to transparent cacao sourcing, check out UVicSpace, the University of Victoria’s open access institutional repository. In UVicSpace, you will find Dr. Carodenuto’s 2023 co-authored publication, “Seeing through transparency in the craft chocolate industry: The what, how, and why of cacao sourcing.”