I have been a passionate environmentalist and nature enthusiast ever since I was a very young child. Naturally, this led me to study Ecology and Conservation Biology at university, where a recurring issue I was taught about was how underfunded the protection of our planet is.
By a lucky chance, I later became acquainted with the Masarang Foundation, an Indonesian conservation organisation that especially focuses on reforestation, using profits from self-produced arenga palm sugar. So when my parents, Charles and Carolyn, decided to commit to running a chocolate company, my first suggestion was that they use Masarang’s sugar in their chocolate as a means of providing financial support for the foundation. One taste test was all it took to convince them and now, Masarang’s arenga palm sugar is a core ingredient in all of our chocolate products.
Arenga palm sugar is made from the sap of the arenga palm tree, which will only grow well if planted alongside a variety of other plant species. Harnessing this aspect of its biology, Masarang has used the arenga palm to reforest vast areas of land in Indonesia, restoring denuded wastelands to thriving rainforest ecosystems once more. Better still, Masarang works with local people to keep poachers and illegal loggers out of the forests, in return for receiving the bulk of the benefits from sugar sales. This ensures that the locals prosper along with the rainforest and gives them an incentive to restore and protect it. Excess sugar profits also help Masarang to rescue and rehabilitate illegally traded wildlife at the Tasikoki Wildlife Rescue Centre.
Modern agriculture is one of the biggest drivers of environmental destruction today, contributing to habitat loss, extinctions and the climate crisis. For example, over 90% of the rainforest in Ivory Coast in West Africa has been destroyed for cocoa plantations that supply 70% of the cocoa used in the mainstream chocolate industry. Sustainable sourcing is therefore of paramount importance to us as a company, as ‘guilt-free’ also means making chocolate with a positive impact on the planet. As well as using Masarang palm sugar, we also source our cocoa from non-deforestation sources in the Philippines.
We also aim to educate the public on the environmental issues within the mainstream chocolate industry via talks and social media posts. In doing so, we hope to help consumers realise the power of their choices and the things they can do to alter their habits and push for a fairer, more sustainable kind of chocolate for us all.