The Best Sustainable + Fair Trade Chocolate Brands

The Best Sustainable + Fair Trade Chocolate Brands

Valentine’s day is almost here and I’m sure you’ve noticed a huge increase in the chocolate that is stocked in your local stores. As yummy as it is (and not so great for my waist line), did you know that chocolate production isn’t great for our planet? Cocoa bean farming is an intensive process, which drains nutrients from the soil, forcing farmers to repeatedly increase their growing space. This often leads to deforestation and loss of habitat. Not only that, but many mainstream brands use palm oil, often used as a supplement ingredient. This is one of the leading global causes of deforestation. Additionally, for years cocoa bean farming has sadly been synonymous with exploitation of workers so it is important that we are conscious of the companies we support. In today’s post, I will be sharing with you some of my absolute favorite fair trade chocolate brands.

FYI, this is a guest post written by Little By Lottie, a zero waste advocate and blogger. This post contains affiliate links. This means if you choose to purchase one of these items I will make a very small commission at no extra charge to you. Please see my disclosure policy for more information.

The Best Sustainable + Fair Trade Chocolate Brands

The Best Sustainable + Fair Trade Chocolate Brands

Which chocolate brands are fair trade?

Thankfully, fair trade chocolate brands are becoming a lot more common in our stores, however many mainstream brands that you may be used to, actually aren’t fair trade at all. Fear not, there are tons of totally delicious fair trade chocolate brands so make sure you keep reading to find out more. You’ll know if a chocolate brand is fair trade if they have a certificate on their products saying so.

Is Hershey’s chocolate fair trade?

This is a bit of a complicated answer. However, I personally like to stay clear of Hershey products. There has been accusations that the brand as a whole is underpaying and exploiting their workers. In fact, Ethical Consumer Magazine rate Hershey at 4/20 for ethical practices. While I am sure some of you love Hershey’s chocolate, there are loads of other more ethical and sustainable alternatives which I strongly encourage you to check out. 

What chocolate is not fair trade?

Hate to be the bringer of bad news, but most conventional chocolate, unless stated otherwise, is not fair trade. So take Hershey’s, KitKats, and most of the candies sold at supermarkets – unless certified, they aren’t fair trade. In fact, Hershey, Mars and Nestle are all faced with child slavery lawsuits in America so…you tell me. Does that sound fair trade to you?

Look for brands that have the fair trade certificate. This is the only way to know for sure if your chocolate is ethically produced.

What does fair trade mean in chocolate?

Fair trade is effectively a financial safety net which ensures ethical payment to suppliers. In chocolate this means that farmers, who work tirelessly producing cocoa beans and sugar are fairly paid and are treated ethically. Other than ensuring workers aren’t exploited, it also protects against notorious slave and child labor which is historically synonymous with the cocoa and sugar farming industries. 

Why should I buy fair trade chocolate?

Other than guaranteeing farmers a fair wage, there are lots of other benefits to buying fairtrade chocolate. Fair trade actively helps farmers to have more control over their product, it is a pioneer for empowering women in business, farmers can make progressive businesses and if nothing else there are some INCREDIBLE fair trade chocolates out there. I like to think that even if I fancy a cheeky chocolate treat, why should someone have to suffer for that! 

Is fair trade chocolate better?

Personally, I think yes. I find that fair trade chocolate often has higher quality ingredients and I think you can actually taste the difference. When farmers are treated fairly, they are more likely to create a more premium product from the love that is poured into their produce. That’s just me though, you will have to try it for yourself. 

What is the most environmentally friendly chocolate?

It is definitely hard to say which chocolate is definitively the best in terms of eco-friendly practices as everyone has their pros and cons. Some of my personal favorite ethical brands I have mentioned below so keep reading to find out which is the best chocolate for you. Personally, I think Alter Eco (#1 on the list for a reason) meets the most of my eco-friendly and ethical expectations!

Alter Eco: The Best Sustainable + Fair Trade Chocolate Brands

1. Alter Eco

  • Certified Organic Chocolate Bars and Truffles 
  • Grown on small scale, fair trade farms
  • All packaging recyclable or compostable
  • Restoring forests
  • Carbon Neutral for over 10 years
  • B Corporation

Ariana’s favorite and top pick! Alter Eco has a long history of being one of the leading fair trade chocolate brands out there. Unlike many companies jumping on the “Eco-Bandwagon”, they have been offsetting their carbon footprint since 2010 and have always focused on sacrificing nothing, including the environment, working conditions or the taste of their products, while manufacturing. They are one of the first companies to have developed a commercially compostable candy wrapper (!!!) which are used for all of their dark and milk chocolate truffles. Their bars are plastic-free as well.

Endangered Species Chocolate: The Best Sustainable + Fair Trade Chocolate Brands

2. Endangered Species Chocolate

  • Fair Trade Chocolate Bars
  • 10% back to conservation
  • 100% non-GMO certified Sugar Cane 
  • Palm Oil Free
  • Most Products Suitable for Vegans 
  • US Based Company

Founded in 1993, Endangered Species Chocolate has always had environmental conservation at its heart. They are committed to ensuring all of their products are free from palm oil and have donated almost $3 million dollars to its wildlife conservation partners. Although, the vast majority of their products are suitable for vegans, unfortunately their products aren’t certified organic, so if this is important to you, maybe this isn’t the right brand. Having said this, there is a good reason. All of their cocoa beans are sourced from a small family run business in West Africa and despite the fact their company practices sustainable farming, they simply don’t have the funds for organic certification.

Unreal: The Best Sustainable + Fair Trade Chocolate Brands

3. Unreal

  •  Wide range of Chocolate treats
  •  100% Fair trade and Ethical Ingredients 
  •  Available in USA and Canada 
  •  Vegan Options Available
  •  Low Sugar Content

Ariana’s 2nd favorite choice – she loves their peanut butter cups! Unreal Chocolate was developed with the mission to make delicious fair trade chocolate without the need for extortionate amounts of sugar. This is a great way of allowing more people to enjoy a tasty snack without the guilt, and is also great for parents looking for a healthier snack for their little ones. They have a wide range of chocolate treats from peanut butter cups to coconut filled bars which I am sure you will love!

Equal Exchange: The Best Sustainable + Fair Trade Chocolate Brands

4. Equal Exchange

  •  Dark Chocolate Bars, Minis and Chips
  •  Organic Ingredients 
  •  Small Farm Grown Cocoa
  •  Co-Op Owned Company 
  •  Palm Oil Free

My favorite thing about Equal Exchange is that not only are all of their bars made from fair trade chocolate, it actually specifies which farm the cocoa beans were grown on! Talk about transparent supply chains! Many of their products are vegan and all of them are made from organic ingredients without a hint of palm oil in sight! They work closely with all of their suppliers and have a unique co-op business model based on democratic principles.

Divine Chocolate: The Best Sustainable + Fair Trade Chocolate Brands

5. Divine Chocolate

  • Fair Trade Chocolate Bars
  • Women Owned and Led
  • Plastic Free Packaging
  • Owned by Cocoa Farmers
  • Vegan Options

Divine Chocolate is one of my favorite chocolate brands. It is one of the easiest brands to get hold of in stores and have an incredible story. The brand itself is actually owned by cocoa farmers in Ghana and the business is committed to “doing things differently”, by growing cocoa sustainably, empowering women, keeping all products totally free from palm oil AND creating an honestly delicious chocolate bar. Divine Chocolate to me feels that little bit special and premium feeling so whenever I treat myself, Divine Fair Trade Chocolate is often a brand I reach for.

Theo: The Best Sustainable + Fair Trade Chocolate Brands

6. Theo

  • Fair Trade Chocolate and Candy
  • Palm Oil Free
  • US Based Company 
  • Certified Organic  
  • Transparent Supply Chain

Every single year, Theo releases an impact report which is available to read by the general public. This is because they are so focused on total transparency in their supply chain. Not only that, but they also have one of the widest variety of products on this list so they are definitely worth checking out whether you love a gorgeous dark chocolate bar or prefer cups and caramels. Most of their products are also vegan and gluten free, plus all are certified organic and palm oil free.

Seed and Bean: The Best Sustainable + Fair Trade Chocolate Brands

7. Seed and Bean

  •  Premium Chocolate Bars and Truffles
  •  Organic and Fair Trade Ingredients
  •  Available Worldwide
  •  England Based Company 
  •  Compostable Packaging 

Seed and Bean are another of my favorite Fair Trade Chocolate Brands who make a wide range of ethical confectionery. The brand as a whole has a zero waste focus, with all packaging being totally compostable, including the cellulose film the products are wrapped in. The flavor of these chocolates really are second to none and have a particularly premium style to their flavor combinations. I absolutely love this brand and highly recommend you check them out.

Justin's Nut Butter Cups: The Best Sustainable + Fair Trade Chocolate Brands

8. Justin’s Nut Butter Cups

  •  Mini and Fullsize Chocolate Covered Nut Butter Cups 
  •  Non-GMO Ingredients 
  •  Certified Organic
  •  Sustainable Palm Oil
  •  Recyclable Packaging

Ariana’s 3rd favorite! So strictly speaking, Justin’s Nut Butter Cups aren’t exactly chocolate bars, however they are really awesome chocolate treats which I just had to share. The business was set up almost 20 years ago, with a focus of disrupting the corruption in the food industry by creating truly mindful nut butter products, which just happen to be delicious too! All of the ingredients are certified organic, including their fair trade cocoa beans. If you are dead set on having palm oil free products, this might not be for you, however all of their palm oil is all sustainably sourced and they are a member of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO).

Amano: The Best Sustainable + Fair Trade Chocolate Brands

9. Amano

  • Plain and Flavored Chocolate Bars
  • Palm Oil Free
  • Artistic and Artisan Packaging
  • Plastic Free 
  • US Based Company 

Amano is a fair trade chocolate company that works on a bean to bar basis. Their bars have an incredibly high cocoa content compared to many conventional bars which are wrapped in utterly gorgeous artistic, plastic free packaging. They are a US based company with all of their beans sustainably sourced from Central and South America, Africa and Oceania. They are truly artisan in style and adopt traditional French and Italian methods when making their delicious bars.

Raaka: The Best Sustainable + Fair Trade Chocolate Brands

10. Raaka

  • Bars, Minis and Drinking Chocolate 
  • Transparent Trade Focus 
  • Available in the USA
  • Certified Organic 
  • Small Batch

Raaka is a company with Transparent Trade as its main focus, followed closely by producing a delicious chocolate bar. Their beans are certified organic and can be traced back to small or single estate farms in Tanzania and the Dominican Republic. Unlike others on this list, they aren’t actually certified fair trade. Why? Because they prefer to go straight to the source, rather than relying on other people’s certifications of a supplier. A principle I wish other companies adopted too. Their chocolate is truly delicious and I highly recommend you give them a go.

The Best Sustainable + Fair Trade Chocolate Brands

Which of these fair trade chocolate brands did you like the best? Have you tried any of them? Did I leave your favorite out? Let me know in the comments!

Enjoyed this post? Be sure to share it! If you like my content, sign up for my newsletter to get notified every time I write a new blog post. To support me even further, please consider buying me a cup of tea to help support my blog.

Little By Lottie

Guest post: Hi, my name is Lottie and I have my own zero waste blog too (it’s if you want to check it out or @littlebylottie on Instagram). I live across the pond in England and am super passionate about sharing easy changes you can make in your life to have a huge impact on the planet. I’ve been lucky enough to have a chat with Ariana on a few occasions. I’m so pleased to have this opportunity to write for her page.

By Ariana Storniolo (Palmieri)

Ariana Storniolo is the founder of Greenify-Me, a blog dedicated to zero waste and sustainability. Her work has also been featured on Going Zero Waste, Green Matters, Mother Earth Living and several other online publications.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *