A recent study has revealed that chocolates may be significantly harming the environment, as the chocolate industry is reportedly producing tonnes of greenhouse gases in a year.
The result was derived after researchers from the University of Manchester in the UK studied the carbon footprint of chocolate and assessed the impact of chocolate ingredients, manufacturing processes, packaging and waste on the environment.
The study was published in the journal Food Research International.
Study: Key Findings
• The study found that the UK chocolate industry alone produces about 2.1 million tonnes of greenhouse gases a year.
• The gas emissions are equivalent to the annual emissions of the whole population of a city as large as Belfast in Northern Ireland.
• The study also found that it takes around 1,000 litres of water to produce one chocolate bar.
• According to researchers, on an average, each person individually consumes about eight kg of chocolate per year.
• The researchers also found that the raw materials used to produce chocolate as well as their packaging are significant reservoir of biodiversity that are threatened with destruction.
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• Cocoa is cultivated around the equator in humid climate conditions, mainly in West Africa and Central and South America.
• Hence, the beans have to travel a lot of distance before they make it to the chocolate products produced and consumed in the UK.
• According to the International Cocoa Organisation the annual production of cocoa beans in 2016 was 4.25 million tonnes.
• The worldwide sales of chocolate are estimated to be worth more than USD 101 billion.
• Besides, production of the milk powder used to make milk chocolates is very energy intensive.
• Dairy cows also reportedly produce significant green house gas emissions per litre of milk produced, all of which adds to the environmental impact of chocolate.