Your favourite chocolates may be significantly harming the environment, say scientists who found that the UK chocolate industry produces about 2.1 million tonnes of greenhouse gases in a year. A study, published in the journal Food Research International, looked at the carbon footprint of chocolate and its other environmental impacts.
Researchers from the University of Manchester in the UK assessed the impact of ingredients, manufacturing processes, packaging and waste. The study estimates that the UK chocolate industry produces about 2.1 million tonnes of greenhouse gases a year. This is equivalent to the annual emissions of the whole population of a city as large as Belfast.
It also found that it takes around 1,000 litres of water to produce just one chocolate bar. On average, each person individually consumes about eight kilogramme of chocolate per year. Most of us love chocolate, but don’t often think of what it takes to get from cocoa beans to the chocolate products we buy in the shop. Cocoa is cultivated around the equator in humid climate conditions, mainly in West Africa and Central and South America so it has to travel some distance before it makes it into the chocolate products we produce and consume in the UK