I'm Cuckoo for Cocoa
With help from the enviro group Rainforest Alliance, some farmers in Ecuador have pledged to grow cocoa without cutting down forestlands and earn the right to be labeled rainforest-friendly. Within a few weeks, the cocoa — the first to be so certified — will become available to U.S. manufacturers. Enviros say cocoa, like coffee, can be grown alongside or in the shade of rainforest trees, making it a much better product for biodiversity than other tropical crops like bananas or cattle, which require that land be deforested. However, even though there has been a surge of interest in organic and other forms of eco-friendly chocolate in recent years, most operations around the world don’t grow cocoa trees in environmentally conscious ways. One researcher estimates that two-thirds of the cocoa grown in the Ivory Coast, which produces about 40 percent of the world’s supply, is grown without shade.