*Organic raw cane sugar, *organic cacao beans, *organic cocoa butter, organic whole milk, organic butterfat
*Fair Trade Certified™ by Fair Trade USA, total 87.6% Fair Trade ingredients.
Contains milk. May contain hazelnuts, almonds, coconut, and soy. Individuals who are allergic to these should not consume this product.
Cocoa: 46% minimum.
On the label AlterEco’s Grass Fed Milk Chocolate Bar boasts being made from entirely organic milk and cocoa that are at once sustainably and ethically sourced. Looking a little closer at the company, organic and sustainable become more than just buzz words, but are integral practices in ingredient procurement, production, manufacturing, and dissemination. The bar itself is made up of 46% cocoa that has been grown in collaboration with farmers in Peru on the Acopargo Cooperative; the cooperative began in 1997 as an initiative to shift farming from illegal coca (used in cocaine) to cocoa, thus transforming the farms into profitable work and living spaces that sustain about 2,000 members. The grass fed milk too has been sourced ethically, from USDA and Swiss Organic certified open pasture, grass fed cows near Lucerne, Switzerland. Raised in an environment complementary to natural behaviors, the cows grazing period is two times the USDA National Organic Program Standard; while it’s sometimes hard to trust such certifications, it seems that AlterEco is genuinely working towards fostering sustainable and ethical practices at different stages in their production.
Little is known about the exact production processes through which the chocolate is made. While everything else about AlterEco as a sustainable company can be easily searched, I found neither the location of the specific cow farm in Lucerne, nor the location of the factory that produces the chocolate. With such an advanced eco-friendly base, its perhaps a little odd that these things are not readily available. I maintain that AlterEco really is a forerunning company in sustainability - one that many other companies would do well to emulate - while also being critical of the aspects of production which are not so public.
AlterEco was co-founded by Mathieu Senard and Edouard Rollet. Both coming from the NGO non-profit space, the two have from the beginning centered social and economic justice through strategic partnerships and equitable business. Together, along with the many people who comprise company, AlterEco has become B Corporation Certified. Under normal circumstances, such an achievement might only be a cover for more unethical scheming on the low, but with a 2019 B Corp Score of 133.8 (the average business scores around 50.9), AlterEco perhaps embodies exactly what it means to be a sustainable company. Certified climate neutral, the company packages exclusively in compostable material; the only non-compostable item being the foil in which the chocolate is wrapped in, which can be recycled. Sourcing cocoa from the Acopargo Cooperative, which both pays workers equitably for their labour and maintains a model of regenerative agriculture that brings trees back to farms through organic ecosystems, AlterEco seems to be genuinely engaged in environmental justice.