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To Our Alter Eco Community,
We write to share our 3rd annual Regeneration Report with you. Alter Eco was founded in 2005 with the goal of bringing delicious foods to conscious consumers. I’m proud to say that today, we’re continuing to realize this mission in new and exciting ways.
As I write this letter, this year’s IPCC report has just been released. Our planet is 1.1 degrees Celsius (2 degrees Fahrenheit) warmer than it was 150 years ago, and experts say we are likely to surpass the critical threshold of 1.5 degrees Celsius “in the first half of the 2030s.”
Climate change impacts all life on Earth, including the lives of human beings, and disproportionately impacts marginalized communities; threatening our health, food security, water supply, biodiversity, and so much more.
What that means to us
At Alter Eco, climate change means not only a threat to the health, but also to the resilience of our farmer partners around the world. It means longer droughts and less predictable growing conditions. It means supply chain instability, increased costs, and unpredictable delays.
What we can do
We know that as a business, we have the power, influence and responsibility to do better. Hence, our goal is to transparently address our environmental footprint, invest in our farmer partners, and reduce our waste to be part of the solution.
In this report, our commitment is evident—from gaining an understanding of our carbon footprint (especially as we grow), to supporting our partners and all cacao-growing regions, and investing in even more sustainable packaging solutions.
We know we cannot do this alone. We aim to work collaboratively with our industry peers, and our partners throughout the food supply chain system to reach our collective goals.
What you can do
As consumers, you can choose to vote with your dollar every day at the grocery store and online. When you choose Alter Eco, you are helping to build a cleaner, greener planet for all.
CEO, Alter Eco
A NOTE FROM ARNULFO VENTURA
Alter Eco Foods
Regenerative Agriculture is
We believe . . .
One ecosystem at a time.
is the opposite of industrial farming.
SEE THE DIFFERENCE?
farmer livelihood depends on the price of a few crops
susceptible to drought and pests
farmer livelihood is secured by a variety of crops & improved working conditions thanks to shade
builds resilience to climate change
FROM SOIL TO SHELF
In line with guidance from the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (UNIPCC), we aim to reduce our overall emissions by 50% by 2030. We are tackling our own emissions by measuring, reducing, offsetting and insetting.
Step 1: Measure
They say “you can’t manage what you can’t measure.” We know our measurements aren’t perfect for our main ingredient and biggest source of emissions—our cacao.
So this year, we worked with Climate Neutral and HowGood to get better, more accurate data for our cacao carbon footprint.
You may notice that our estimated tons of CO2 from our cacao went up vs last year. This happened for 2 reasons:
Our capability to measure our emissions improved (yay!). Thanks to our continued partnership with Climate Neutral and a new partnership with HowGood, we were able to be more specific and holistic when looking at the impact of cacao on our emissions.
Our cacao-centered business increased 7% in 2022 (double yay!). That means you, the consumer, chose the cleanest, greenest chocolate more in 2022 than in 2021. We can't thank you enough for working with us to improve the health of people and the planet.
It’s crucial to avoid underestimating our footprint, so that we can truly understand the work that lies ahead to reduce it. Take a look at last year's report to compare our year-to-year improvements.
Step 2: Reduce
More important than offsetting and insetting (step 3, below), we want to use our measurements to find ways to reduce our environmental footprint wherever possible. We are doing that by:
Transitioning to regenerative agriculture
690 cacao farmers transitioned to date (6% increase vs last year)
1,590 cacao acres transitioned to date (2.6% increase)
44% of our cacao comes from regenerative agriculture systems
Changing up transportation
We are working to significantly reduce air freight, which emits 40x more CO2 than ocean freight. We’re also looking into adding a new distribution facility that is closer to areas of the country that are far from our current facility.
Avoiding virgin plastics and using plant-based packaging whenever possible.
Step 3: Offset & Inset
We are proud to be a Climate Neutral certified company. We partner with Pur Projet to offset and inset our carbon emissions through planting and protecting trees in Peru. Last year alone we protected enough trees to fill 600 professional soccer stadiums!
IN 2022, WE SUPPORTED
CONTRIBUTING TO LAND PRESERVATION OF
BEYOND CARBON: Building regeneration outside our own supply chain with the Alter Eco Foundation
In 2022, the Alter Eco Foundation supported 6 projects in addition to our work with our partner farmers that:
Sequestered 19,789 tons of CO2* by working with 1,021 farmers across 4,445 acres of land around the world to implement regenerative farming practices
Build community empowerment and food sovereignty
*estimate, direct measurement of carbon storage below and above ground in progress
There’s no food without the people that grow it.
It’s important to us that our farmer partners are paid fairly and have access to training and resources to be set up for success.
We pay 30% above the minimum fair trade price required to pay to cocoa farmers
Worked directly with 690 farmers in Ecuador and the Dominican Republic to help them transition to regenerative farming methods
Changing the way farmers manage their land takes time.
In 2021, we helped 230 farmers and 570 acres of land make the transition to regenerative farming practices, and those numbers have only gone up a bit in 2022. That’s because we are standing by those same farmers to help with farm management and ensure success.
UNOCACE & FORTALEZA CO-OPS Guayaquil & Calceta, Ecuador
Cocoa & Cocoa Butter COOPROAGRO & CONACADO CO-OPS
Vanilla Beans MANANARA CO-OP
Cocoa & Cocoa Butter
ACOPAGRO CO-OP Alto Huayabamba, Peru
Regenerative Agroforestry Project
Raw Cane Sugar MANDUVIRÁ CO-OP Arroyos y Esteros, Paraguay
Carbon Insetting Reforestation Project ACOPAGRO CO-OP Alto Huayabamba, Peru
In 2022, our partner farmers* have:
their yield of cacao, on average
Saved anywhere from $300-$1,000
on fertilizers due to increased soil health
Increased their incomes by 20-30%
Reported improved working conditions
with the sale of additional crops on their local markets
thanks to increased shade and humidity
*Based on reports from dynamic agroforestry project at Unocace only
Plastic is not only filling up our landfills and oceans, but it’s polluting our air and poisoning frontline communities. That’s why we work to reduce the waste produced by our product packaging.
IN 2022, WE DIVERTED
WRAPPERS FROM LANDFILL
Our truffle wrappers were transitioned from Industrial to Backyard compostable in 2021.
Our granola and quinoa bags are made of 33% Post-Consumer Recycled Plastic content.
IN 2022, WE SAVED
OF VIRGIN PLASTIC FROM ENTERING OUR SUPPLY CHAIN
DID YOU KNOW?
Only 9% of plastic gets recycled (EPA) — that’s why we decided to focus on recycled plastic (already in the system) over recyclable (virgin plastic).
Planting Justice, based in the East Bay, is on a mission to empower people impacted by mass incarceration and other social inequities with the skills and resources to cultivate food sovereignty, economic justice, and community healing.
In 2022 Alter Eco donated $30,000 to support Planting Justice programs.
Our team is what makes the magic happen every day at Alter Eco. And our community is what keeps us grounded.
For the 2nd year in a row, the Alter Eco team was proud to partner with Planting Justice as our employee directed giving grantee.
In 2022 Alter Eco also volunteered at the Food Forest Farm in El Sobrante, California.
We're committed to increasing the accuracy and efficacy of data & action.
Every year we are aiming to increase the accuracy of our data so we can continue to make real, measurable progress.
That’s why in 2023, we’re investing in a research team on the ground in Ecuador to measure carbon impacts in our own regenerative cacao system.
This work will not only improve our understanding of our own footprint, but will add to crucial research around regenerative agricultural systems.
We're encouraging industry-wide shifts.
This is our call to all companies in our industry to measure Scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions, while using the most conservative benchmarks to avoid underestimating your impact.
We hope that all companies will make a plan to invest in customized emissions factors in their own supply chains. The more we know, the more we can make real impactful changes in our businesses to build a more regenerative food system and move toward 50% reduction by 2030.
To help be a leader in these movements, we're making our proven climate positive model available to the entire cacao industry.