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The Greatest Umbrella in the World: Chocolate

Sometimes all we need is a little bit of chocolate, and for some reason that can make us feel so much better. The Seattle Chocolate Company is a women-owned business that specializes in making delicious chocolate with the intent of it being your “umbrella.” This article will highlight who is the Seattle Chocolate Company, sustainability efforts they practice, and lastly, look at how this Seattle-based company helps out in their communities.

The Beginning of Seattle Chocolate

Seattle Chocolate started with making their signature chocolate truffles and truffle bars in 1991. However, an earthquake struck in 2001 and destroyed their factory. Jean Thompson, an investor at the time, stepped up and became the owner and CEO of the company, with no corporate experience in the chocolate industry at all. Yet she managed to turn the company around and become a successful chocolate company in Seattle. Jean Thompson has all of the great qualities that every CEO should possess, she is determined and passionate about the chocolate industry which ties into the company’s goals to help improve the lives of cacao farmers and empower prospective entrepreneurs who have the same passion and drive as herself.

About Seattle Chocolate

Sustainability Efforts

Besides just making extremely tasty chocolate, Seattle Chocolate company dives into other areas that they are passionate about. These days, many businesses are becoming more aware of their carbon footprint and the environmental impacts of their businesses. Seattle Chocolate has multiple sustainability efforts. These efforts include obtaining ethically sourced chocolate that is Rainforest Alliance Certified™. The Rainforest Alliance certification means that the certified product was made using methods that support the “three pillars of sustainability.” Which are: social, economic, and environmental. The Rainforest Alliance’s standards focus on four areas: forests, climate, human rights, and livelihoods. Under the standard for “forests,” the rainforest alliance promotes best practices for protecting forests since they are so crucial to the ecosystems on Earth. The “climate” standard focuses on promoting responsible land management methods to do multiple things such as creating and maintaining carbon storage or preventing deforestation which will in turn, affect the environment. The “human rights” portion of the certification strives to improve the rights of “rural people.” The Rainforest Alliance assesses poor working conditions, low wages, child labor, among other things. The last standard, livelihood,” looks to understand the health of ecosystems and economic stability of rural communities. Together, these four standards create the Rainforest Alliance certification which Seattle Chocolate makes sure their sourced chocolate has.

Other sustainability efforts practiced include using compostable wrappers, composting chocolate scraps, using NON-GMO ingredients, and working with local partners to source ingredients (honey, nuts, fruits, spices, mint, etc). They also sell their “factory seconds,” otherwise known as “factory rejects” in order to cut down on waste. It is apparent that being sustainable is important in Seattle Chocolate’s company culture as seen through their numerous ways to be mindful of the environment.

Helping Out the Community

Pink Umbrella Fund

Along with assuring their chocolate comes from ethically sourced locations, Seattle Chocolate also makes efforts to help out in the communities in surrounding locations. In 2012, Jean Thompson created the “jcoco chocolate” which was a new brand under the Seattle Chocolate umbrella. This new brand has a focus on feeding families in need. This is accomplished because with every purchase of jcoco chocolate, Seattle Chocolate donates fresh food to partnerships they have with food banks in Washington, California, and New York through their Pink Umbrella Fund. Since the creation of jcoco chocolate, over 3.5 million servings of food has been donated to organizations around the United States that work to fight hunger.

Working with Independent Artists

You must be thinking that there is no way for the Seattle Chocolate company to sound any better, well, you’re wrong! Seattle Chocolate makes an effort to support independent artists by commissioning them to create their own unique designs for the wrappers of chocolate bars. Each artist has their own special style that perfectly reflects the different kinds of chocolate sold. Each wrapper is designed to help accompany the warm and bright feelings of eating the chocolate that’s wrapped inside.

Seattle Chocolate Company is a successful women-owned business that strives to not only make amazing chocolate, but further promotes the importance of ethically sourcing ingredients and helping out in the community for those in need. Whether it be by donating food to organizations or hiring independent artists, Seattle Chocolate is making an effort to do better in the world. Seattle Chocolate’s motto is “May Chocolate Be Your Umbrella,” and while their chocolate may provide an umbrella for many of its customers, Seattle Chocolate themselves is creating their own umbrella for the people they help with their sustainability and humanitarian efforts.

By: Ashley Mattson

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