Sustainability … It’s The Latest Thing

Blommer Chocolate Company is the latest manufacturer to jump on the sustainability bandwagon. If the name doesn’t ring a bell, you’re probably not alone. Blommer, like Wilbur Chocolate and Peter’s Chocolate (both now part of Cargill) are bulk chocolate manufacturers who sell their product to other manufacturers, chocolatiers, bakers, etc. Blommer is the largest bulk chocolate manufacturer in North America.

According to the press release, Blommer will partner with the Rainforest Alliance to produce a line of RA certified premium cocoa and chocolate products. A standard certified line will be added later. The press release did not indicate the quantity or percentage of certified cocoa to be sourced this way. In other words, we don’t know if this will remain just one product line or if Blommer plans to convert more of their line to certified cocoa.I have outlined my misgivings about RA certification in my post on Mars’s decision to choose RA certification. The onus of certification is on the farmer with no guarantees about better prices. The press release indicates that RA will work with farmers to help them meet the certification requirements, but Blommer, like Mars, has no direct reponsibilities to contribute to that. One sentence in the press release was telling:

Independent audits not only will ensure that cocoa produced on these farms meets and maintains these standards, but also will provide farmers access to the higher market prices often available for certified cocoa.

In other words, the farmers have to make sure to be in compliance, but there is no guarantee that their efforts will result in better income. I’m all for sustainability, but if the farmers have to bear the burden there is something wrong with that concept. Blommer does not even have to pay to use the RA seal. How’s that for a deal?

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