Home & Garden Home The 8 Best Fair Trade Chocolates of 2023 Alter Eco is our top choice for ethical and delicious chocolate bars. By Amanda Ogle Amanda Ogle Amanda Ogle is a freelance writer and editor covering sustainability, health, travel, food, and lifestyle topics. Learn about our editorial process Updated October 28, 2022 Share Twitter Pinterest Email Home Sustainable Eating Pest Control Natural Cleaning DIY Family Green Living Thrift & Minimalism We independently evaluate all recommended products and services. If you click on links we provide, we may receive compensation. Learn more. Basak Gurbuz Derman / Getty For many, chocolate is a part of everyday life. We use it for baking, nibble on it for a nightly treat, and sip it hot during winter months. But chocolate production isn’t always such a sweet story, as many companies use chocolate from cocoa beans harvested by child labor, while farmers are often paid unfair wages for their labor. Fair trade chocolates avoid the worst of these practices, with fair trade certifications ensuring that farmers and chocolate workers are paid fair wages, insulating producers from cocoa's day-to-day commodity price fluctuations. Fair trade cooperatives allow chocolate workers to command a premium, while providing opportunities to women. We've assembled the best fair trade chocolates, so you can minimize contributing toward the exploitation of cocoa farmers. The Rundown Best Overall: Alter Eco at Walmart Jump to Review Best Overall Runner Up: Dr. Bronner's Magic All-One Chocolate at Thrive Market Jump to Review Best Splurge: Tony’s Chocolonely Chocolate at REI Jump to Review Best Chocolate Chips: Lily's Baking Chips at Walmart Jump to Review Best Milk Chocolate: Divine Milk Chocolate at Amazon Jump to Review Best Dark: Theo 85% Dark Chocolate Bar at Amazon Jump to Review Best Vegan: Unreal at Walmart Jump to Review Best with Almonds: Endangered Species Chocolate at Chocolatebar.com Jump to Review Best Overall Alter Eco 5 Amazon View On Walmart View On Amazon View On Alterecofoods.com Looking for Delicious, Ethically Made Chocolate? Meet Alter Eco Fair-trade certified, USDA organic, and GMO-free chocolates from Alter Eco are not just delicious, they’re ethically sourced as well. The company works with small-scale, fair trade farmers to source its chocolate, and that's just the beginning of its eco-friendly practices, making this brand our top overall choice. Alter Eco is not only a certified B Corporation, but also carbon neutral, offsetting 100% of its emissions. It also uses either recyclable or compostable packing for all of its products. For the ultimate dark chocolate treat, try the 90% cacao Super Blackout chocolate bar, or grab a box of assorted truffles to to find your favorite flavor. Our taster described both bars and truffles as "divinely delicious." Additional flavors include Sea Salt, Mint Blackout, Quinoa Crunch, Salted Almonds, Salt & Malt, Coconut Toffee, and Raspberry Blackout. Price at time of publish: $9 for Super Blackout Best Overall Runner Up Dr. Bronner's Magic All-One Chocolate 5 Dr. Bronner's View On Thrive Market View On Amazon View On Drbronner.com Dr. Bronner's Will Launch Organic, Fair-Trade Chocolate Bars This Summer Yes, the family-owned, all-natural soap company with the wordy label is branching out into organic, fair trade, and vegan chocolate. Announced in 2021, Dr. Bronner’s Magic All-One Chocolate bars begin with 70% cocoa made from regenerative organic beans and sweetened with lower-glycemic coconut sugar. As with Alter Eco, Dr. Bronner's is now one of just a handful of companies to produce fair trade and organic cocoa beans, circumventing the highly centralized and exploitative supply chain that produces most of the world's chocolate. Dr. Bronner's Magic All-One Chocolate is available in six flavors: salted whole almonds, salted almond butter, crunchy hazelnut butter, roasted whole hazelnuts, salted dark chocolate, and smooth coconut praline. Price at time of publish: $6 Best Splurge Tony’s Chocolonely Chocolate Amazon View On REI View On Amazon View On Hivebrands.com According to the International Cocoa Initiative, 1.56 million children perform child labor on cocoa farms in Côte d'Ivoire and Ghana, while a further 30,000 people are victims of slavery. Tony's Chocolonely is not only producing chocolate without slave labor, but also working toward slavery-free supply chains that can be reproduced across the industry. In addition to using Fairtrade certified cocoa and sugar, Tony's Chocolonely adheres to additional practices meant to move the chocolate industry toward fully slave-free production, including paying higher prices, supporting the professionalization of farming cooperatives, and making its supply chain fully traceable (you can read more in its annual reports). Of course, the company also makes great chocolate bars, including unique flavors like milk caramel cookie, white raspberry popping candy, dark milk pretzel toffee, and dark pecan coconut. Price at time of publish: $5 for Milk Chocolate Best Chocolate Chips Lily's Baking Chips Lily's View On Walmart View On Amazon View On Lilys.com Make your chocolate chip cookies and baked goods a bit healthier without compromising on flavor. Lily’s chocolate is gluten free, with no added sugar, plus it's Fair Trade certified and made with non-GMO ingredients. Every variety of Lily's Baking Chips are sweetened with zero-calorie stevia, instead of refined sugars. Flavors include dark chocolate, semisweet chocolate, pumpkin spice, peppermint, butterscotch, chocolate mint, milk chocolate, chocolate salted caramel, white chocolate, and multi-colored unicorn swirl. In addition to their chocolate chips, Lily’s chocolate is also available in a baking bar form. A percentage of profits generated from Lily's chocolate is pledged to nonprofit organizations dedicated to treating childhood cancers. Price at time of publish: $6 The 7 Best Stainless Steel Cookware Sets of 2023 Best Milk Chocolate Divine Milk Chocolate Divine View On Amazon View On Divinechocolateusa.com View On Target Beyond third-party certification from the Fairtrade Foundation and certified B Corporation status, Divine Chocolate is also partially owned by its farmers, with the cooperative Kuapa Kokoo Farmers' Union and its 100,000 Ghanaian cocoa farmers holding 40% of the company's board team and receiving direct profit dividends. The result is a remarkably transparent supply chain that operates to the benefit of its workers. Aside from Divine’s milk chocolate bars—which include a sea salt and toffee flavor—the company also produces a variety of dark and white chocolate bars. While all Divine bars are vegan and use non-GMO ingredients, there is also a separate line of organic dark chocolate bars. Price at time of publish: $48 Best Dark Theo 85% Dark Chocolate Bar Amazon View On Amazon View On Theochocolate.com If you crave the rich and less-sweet flavor of dark chocolate, then Theo’s Pure 85% Dark Chocolate is the bar for you. Not only is this bar certified organic, it’s also vegan and Kosher. Theo works directly with cocoa farmers to pay a predictable price that’s 46% above the conventional market rate, and company also supports farmers in implementing sustainable and biodiverse farming practices. The chocolate bars are made in Seattle and certified by Fair for Life. In addition to dark chocolate, Theo makes a range of other chocolate bars (like Salted Cashew and Hazelnut Crisp), as well as drinking chocolate, and other chocolate-covered candies. Price at time of publish: $36 Best Vegan Unreal Walmart View On Walmart View On Hivebrands.com View On Unrealsnacks.com Unreal has a variety of chocolate bars, nut butter cups, and bite-sized "gems" certified vegan by the Vegan Action Group, including dark chocolate coconut bars, dark chocolate peanut butter cups, dark chocolate peanut gems, dark chocolate almond butter cups, and more. Unreal uses organic, non-GMO ingredients and up to 51% less sugar than leading brands without cutting corners with corn syrup or other sweeteners. All chocolate from Unreal is Fair Trade certified, which involves both third-party verification of safe working conditions and high minimum prices paid to cocoa farmers. Price at time of publish: $29 for Peanut Butter Cups, 2 Bags The 30 Best Vegan Gifts of 2023 Best with Almonds Endangered Species Chocolate Endangered Species Chocolate View On Chocolatebar.com Endangered Species Chocolate pledges 10% of their annual net profits to conservation organizations like the National Forest Foundation and The Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund, donating more than $2.6 million since 2016. With so many available varieties of Endangered Species chocolate bars, there are a lot of opportunities to contribute. Its selection of almond bars is particularly robust, including the flavors Oat Milk, Coconut & Almonds + Dark Chocolate; Oat Milk, Sea Salt & Almonds + Dark Chocolate; Almonds, Sea Salt + Dark Chocolate; and Cranberries, Almonds + Dark Chocolate. If almonds aren't your thing, there are more than a dozen other varieties as well. All Endangered Species chocolate is Fairtrade certified, ensuring fair labor practices and premium pricing to cocoa farmers in West Africa. Many of its varieties are also vegan and non-GMO certified. Price at time of publish: $4 for Oat Milk, Coconut & Almonds + Dark Chocolate Final Verdict When it comes to fair trade chocolate, few combine supply chain transparency, environmental initiatives, and organic ingredients quite like Alter Eco. We love that the company offsets its emissions through tree planting initiatives, while the eco-friendly packaging makes the entire buying process sweet. We also dig Tony’s Chocolonely for its efforts against the child labor and modern slavery contaminating cocoa production. What to Look for in Fair Trade Chocolate Certifications Products that are Fair Trade certified will usually have a visible label. Fair-trade certifications ensure that products go through a third-party verification for fair labor practices, in addition to setting a high floor for prices, ensuring that more of the profit from cocoa returns to the farmers. Fairtrade America and Fairtrade Certified are two common fair-trade certifications. Fair for Life is another trustworthy certification, which is operated by Ecocert, an organization that also certifies organic products. Ingredients Added sugars and chemicals can be a sign of a less-than-stellar product, so we suggest looking at the ingredients in addition to certifications. Since fair trade certifications don't guarantee the use of organic practices, look for products that are non-GMO, vegan, or organic certified. Literature The chocolate companies in our roundup are providing an alternative to the exploitation found throughout the mainstream cocoa supply chain, which often means they are happy to evangelize their efforts. Several of our recommended chocolate companies offer annual reports that can provide incredible detail and insight into their production process and other initiatives, including Alter Eco and Tony's Chocolonely. Frequently Asked Questions Is Fair Trade really fair? According to Mark Lundy, the Sustainable Food Systems leader at the International Center for Tropical Agriculture, fair trade is best at addressing cocoa prices, ensuring more profit returns to farmers, but that guarantee can only go so far.“Global commodity farmers may or may not be able to achieve a living income through cocoa production. This depends on pricing, something fair trade addresses, but also productivity, which fair trade doesn’t address,” Lundy told Treehugger.While fair trade offers high prices and sets aside money for local community development, its still supplying a for-profit business model that's forced to compete against non-fair trade chocolate. This makes consumer choices particularly important: since fair trade can't compete on price, it must make up for it through market demand. Does Fair Trade chocolate cost more? While fair trade chocolate is typically more expensive than other chocolate, fair trade doesn’t always cost more. Fair trade chocolates are usually priced competitively with other specialty chocolate. If you do see a higher price, take a look at the ingredient list and where the product is coming from. Higher-quality ingredients usually yield a more expensive product, regardless of Fair Trade certifications. When did Fair Trade chocolate start? In 1994, the Fairtrade certified Green & Black’s Maya Gold Chocolate, made with cocoa from Belize, became the first fair trade certified chocolate. The fair trade movement itself began in 1946 when Edna Ruth Byler started importing needlecrafts from low-income women in South America, which laid the groundwork for the first fair trade organization, the Mennonite Central Committee. Why Trust Treehugger? For this piece, we consulted with Mark Lundy, the Sustainable Food Systems leader at the International Center for Tropical Agriculture, for expert information on fair trade chocolate. We also looked into numerous fair trade certifications to see what the process involves and what is required of businesses getting certified. Treehugger is committed to helping our readers reduce the environmental impact of their day-to-day lives. Author Amanda Ogle is a veteran reporter who loves writing about sustainability and believes it is important that we all strive to be as environmentally friendly as we can. She enjoys giving readers an honest idea of where to buy sustainable products online that make a difference to our environment. The 9 Best Plastic-Free Storage Containers of 2023 View Article Sources Annual report 2020. International Cocoa Initiative.