Being aware of things like a tiny green frog on the label of your chocolate makes a big difference.
There's a lot going on behind that little green frog you might have seen.
Let's meet Adrien, a cocoa farmer who is a member of a Rainforest Alliance Certified cooperative in Ivory Coast, Africa.
He's a true pioneer of sustainability who farms in a way that protects the land for generations to come.
And he's pretty delightful.
Did you know paying attention to a little frog logo could help farmers like Adrien?
On some things you might buy at the market, there is this little frog logo.
Just what is behind that?
It means the product uses ingredients sourced from a Rainforest Alliance Certified farm.
What does that mean, exactly?
It means the farm uses methods that are good for the forest, soil, streams, and rivers — as well as for farmers, their families, and their communities. I spoke with the Rainforest Alliance to get more details.
"Rainforest Alliance certification ensures that farmers have access to housing, medical care, personal safety equipment and clean, potable water. It also promotes decent wages, educational opportunities for their children, and technical assistance to keep farmers on the cutting edge of sustainable farming practices."
— Tensie Whelan, Rainforest Alliance
The non-governmental organization started in the 1980s, and now 13.6% of all the world's cocoa is Rainforest Alliance certified as well as just over 5% of the world's coffee and several other products grown in critically important ecosystems, such as tea and bananas.
I looked, and chocolate and coffee that are Rainforest Alliance Certified are a bit more expensive. Why spend a few extra dimes on that chocolate versus the commercial brands?
Again, Tensie has the answer:
"When consumers choose to spend their money on certified products, it directly benefits the farmers who produced the crops. They enjoy better working conditions and a higher standard of life. Money is also reinvested in communities and schools, planting positive seeds of sustainability training and education for generations to come."
(Also, I checked, and much — if not all — is organic. That's worth a bit extra for me.)
In addition to that, though, some major companies use certified cocoa in their products, including some of the premium chocolates offered by Dove and Hershey's in the United States and Côte d'Or, Marabou, and Suchard internationally.