Earth Day Special: Future of Chocolate with CEO/Owner of Seattle Chocolate
Could you, "imagine a world without chocolate"?
In honor of Earth Day, Women.com dug into the cocoa industry. From where it started to where it is today, the cocoa industry has gained a significant global demand. According to WWF, 58 million pounds of chocolate is consumed on Valentine’s day alone.
What many don’t realize is that the production of chocolate moves at a much slower pace than chocolate’s increasing demands. It can take a cocoa tree an entire year to produce enough cocoa for just half a pound of chocolate.
With a slow production process, the cocoa industry also creates many problems for the ecosystem. Deforestation and child labor are common practices in the chocolate industry. Cocoa farmers are known to plant new cocoa trees by clearing tropical forests. When it comes to child labor, many farmers aren’t paid livable wages and require their families to work for free. In Ghana and Ivory Coast alone, an estimated 2 million helped in production.
Fortunately, there is still hope for the chocolate industry! Women.com went live with the CEO / Owner of Seattle Chocolate, Jean Thompson. She believes there is a bright future for chocolate if we better understand the changes that need to be made.
About Jean Thompson
Jean Thompson’s journey with Seattle Chocolate began as an interested investor. Nature took its course and tragically in 2001, the first Seattle Chocolate factory was destroyed by the Nisqually Earthquake. Making the circumstances worse, the CEO stepped down leaving Jean with a difficult decision. She could either sit by and watch the company she loved crumble and come to an end or take charge and become the new CEO/Owner with no prior experience.
Taking the reins, she was thrown into one of the steepest learning curves in her professional life. Her perseverance and passion for delicious chocolate, has grown the company into the success you see today. She has led the growth of Seattle Chocolate not just regionally but nationally as well.
Today, Thompson is a strong advocate for the chocolate ecosystem. Her team and her often visit cacao-growing regions around the globe to gain a better understanding of the process. In December of 2019, Thompson spoke at a TEDx Talk titled, Imagine a World Without Chocolate where she spoke about the current problems in the cocoa industry and her hopes for the future.
She has also been featured as a successful female entrepreneur by 425 Magazine’s Women to Watch which spotlights females who are leading and creating impactful industries in Seattle.
About Seattle Chocolate
Founded in 1991, Seattle Chocolate is a woman-owned and powered company. In 2001, the original Seattle Chocolate factory was destroyed by the Nisqually Earthquake. Though Thompson’s dedication and decision to go from investor to owner, she grew it into the thriving place it is today.
Their cocoa is Rainforest Alliance Certified and sourced from small Peruvian Farms. Compared to other farms, their lima-based chocolate maker in Peru pays his farmers a livable wage to improve their quality of life. Continuously aimed to help the environment, in 2020, they changed their packaging to compostable packaging for their entire line of sparkly truffles.
2022 marks the beginning of their new philanthropic partnership with Girls Inc. and the 10-year anniversary of Jcoco. Jcoco is a bold new chocolate brand under the Seattle Chocolate umbrella. It aims to feed hungry families by donating fresh servings of food to those in need with each Jcoco purchase. This donation is possible through partnerships with Washington, California, and New York food banks. As of today, they have served 4 million servings!
Over the past 30 years, Seattle Chocolate has made great strides in creating a colorful and whimsical image. Interested clients can take Seattle Chocolate factory tours to learn how cacao becomes chocolate! With various new flavors, their chocolate is dangerously delicious! We highly recommend the You are Sunshine Gift Set!
Be sure to tune in live on Earth Day to learn more!
"As a mother and a female entrepreneur, uplifting and inspiring young girls is so important to me, and we're thrilled to now be supporting Girls Inc. with every single Seattle Chocolate purchase."
-Jean Thompson Seattle Chocolate Owner & CEO
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