Earth Day 2023: How we’re honouring our Planet Pledge

20 Apr 2023

Environment & Ethics

Earth Day is on Saturday the 22nd of April this year — here’s how we are doing our bit

We can all do our bit to be more environmentally-friendly day-to-day. However, as chocolatiers, the team at Hotel Chocolat feels we have an extra obligation — something we want to continue to honour as Earth Day 2023 approaches.

As it stands, the chocolate industry has significant sustainability issues, with cacao production contributing to issues like deforestation and soil contamination. We believe we have a responsibility to change the track record of the chocolate industry and use our resources to make cacao production not just sustainable, but a good thing for the planet.

Learn what Earth Day is and how we’re continuing to stand by our Planet Pledge throughout 2023.

Yellow cacao fruit and cacao beans

What is Earth Day?

Earth Day is an annual event that takes place on April 22nd (which falls on a Saturday in 2023). Its aim is to amplify inspiration and action on protecting the environment on a global scale. First launched in 1970, when the public’s awareness of climate change really started to grow, the event now occurs every year, across the globe.

Earth Day’s mission is to diversify, educate, and activate the environmental movement around the world. It is the largest recruiter to the environmental movement and currently works with over 150,000 partners in over 192 countries to kickstart positive action for planet Earth.

In the spirit of Earth Day, we think it’s fitting to explain what we’re doing to honour our environmental commitments.

How we are honouring our Planet Pledge

We’ve always put the planet at the heart of what we do as a business. But in the last few years, we have been setting ourselves some ambitious goals to drive our sustainability forward as fast and as far as possible.

We’re working to minimise our environmental impact across all areas of our company. That includes taking our packaging, cacao production, energy, food waste, and food miles into account.


We set a goal to make all our packaging 100% recyclable or reusable by the end of 2022. And we’re pleased to report that we’ve hit the mark. After some serious re-evaluations of our packaging materials, we’ve made a series of switches for the better.

In 2017, we said goodbye to black plastic packaging as it can’t be recycled effectively. You won’t find it in any of our chocolate boxes or anywhere in our collections, for that matter.

While we explored compostable and biodegradable options to move away from plastic packaging completely, we discovered that it wasn’t the most sustainable move. We thought that bagasse, a by-product of sugarcane production, would be a great alternative material. However, as it is made from sugarcane grown on the other side of the world (in tropical regions), transporting it to the UK gives it a huge carbon footprint. We needed something that was locally made. Plus, though it is compostable, the UK doesn’t currently have the infrastructure for kerbside disposal of compostable packaging — so it ends up in landfill. We needed something that wouldn’t create more waste.

While it might seem strange, we discovered that it was much better to partner with Charpack to use plastic trays which can be reused again and again. We’re thrilled to be part of the UK’s first local circular economy for plastic. This means we’re helping turn plastic waste into a manufacturing resource — giving it a new purpose and preventing it from reaching landfill.

The Plastics Pact

We’ve also joined the Plastics Pact. This amazing collaboration involves businesses, NGOs, and the Government, and we’re all aiming to make plastic easier to recycle and eliminate problematic plastic packaging.

For some of our other packaging, we’ve invested time into making them perfect for reuse. Take our shortbread tins and truffle tins for example. We hope our guests will feel inspired to keep them around and give them a new purpose. Perhaps you could reuse one for another gift or transform it into a stationery holder.

Our efforts also extend far beyond our online shop. You’ll be pleased to know that all disposable cutlery and napkins found at our Drinks & Ices locations are 100% recyclable or compostable. Plus, we’ve banned offering plastic straws. If you shop with us in-store, you’ll be walking out with a fully recyclable paper bag made from Forest Stewardship Council-certified sources. (That is, if you don’t bring your own — which we’ll always encourage).

Hotel Chocolat Sleeksters


The UK government has a goal of making Britain net zero by 2050. In line with this, we’re aiming to make our direct operations net zero by 2030.

We’ve been taking a comprehensive look at energy use across our business and are proactively cutting down. These are just some of the achievements we have made so far:

  • All our electricity now comes from renewable sources — 75% wind and 25% biomass
  • We have a “Switch It Off” campaign to remind our teams about energy use
  • We have made our retail store more energy efficient with LED lighting
  • Our Environmental Management System helps us to keep track of our energy usage across manufacturing and retail sites
  • We have reduced our business travel, opting for more online meetings

Food miles

Food miles refers to how far and via which method of transport your food has had to travel to end up in front of you. This means that some foods have a higher carbon footprint than others.

As cacao is grown in tropical climates, we can’t get around the fact that global transportation is involved in our business. However, we have made our delivery routes and methods as efficient as possible to keep our carbon emissions down. Sea freight has a smaller carbon footprint than air freight. So we use this mode to transport our cacao to the UK. We also pack our lorries for efficiency. Plus, we aim to keep packaging lightweight and minimal to reduce weight and volume during transportation and use the most efficient lorry routes to reduce food miles.

Food waste

We’re always on the lookout to eliminate food waste. Currently, we’re recycling 100% of any food waste by-products from our chocolate factory by creating our Ugly But Good Bags or letting them go to be made into animal feed. Plus, we reuse cacao shells removed in the chocolate-making process — they go on to infuse our exquisite alcoholic beverages.

Over in Saint Lucia, we use old cacao pods to make top-notch compost for our new cacao trees. In our hotel, we use the pulp from cacao pods in our restaurant. We also incorporate cacao nibs into our wellness treatments.

Get involved with Earth Day 2023

While we are committed to improving the sustainability of our business all year round, Earth Day 2023 provides the perfect reminder of why we started on this journey in the first place. We encourage you to take part. Why not engage in some educational activities or spread awareness? After all, it’s a cause that affects us all. 

Child cutting out a paper image of Eart

Browse our sustainable chocolates

If you’d like to discover what our eco-conscious chocolate tastes like, browse our exquisite chocolate selection. We ethically and sustainably the cacao in our Selectors, Batons, truffles, and more.

We don’t believe in creating just one kind of chocolate that ticks the ‘sustainable’ box. You can be sure that in treating a friend to a chocolate box or yourself to our divine hot chocolate, you’re helping us build a nature-positive chocolate industry.