Engaged Ethics

First steps: What does Ethically Engaged Packaging mean to Hotel Chocolat?

Our brand stands for positive values: Originality, Authenticity and Ethics. It’s in our DNA to do the right thing through ethical behaviour and innovation.

We’re working to minimise our environmental impact by engaging directly with our customers, our team, our suppliers and external experts.

Why? Because we care about our planet, and we want to leave it in a better state than we found it.

This requires a long-term approach. We’ve started putting ours into practice already, and we’ll keep improving it, re-evaluating our priorities as new science, materials and technology come to light.

Our Plastic Pledge

We’re working hard to ensure that by 2021 or sooner, 100% of our packaging will be compostable, reusable or recyclable. It’s a tall order but it’s one we’re passionate about fulfilling. We’re trying some new and innovative things, and we’ll keep you updated on our progress along the way.


What have we done so far?
  • All our plastic trays are made using 70% recycled plastic and can be recycled.

  • All the disposable spoons and napkins in our cafés and restaurants are 100% compostable or recyclable.

  • The cups in our cafés and restaurants are completely compostable, even the lids. They’re made from corn starch, not plastic. (Bring your own cup and we’ll serve your drink with a 50p discount.)

  • We don’t use single-use plastic straws in our restaurants and bars in London or Saint Lucia, or any of our cocoa cafés. Instead, you’ll find compostable paper straws.

  • We’ve never used plastic bags in our stores. Both our paper bags and our cardboard concierge gift bags are fully recyclable. The materials for these come from Forest Stewardship Council-certified sources.

  • In 2018, we introduced a range of reusable 100% natural jute and cotton bags. Jute is still used as the natural fibre for cocoa sacks to store precious cargos of cocoa beans.
What's Next?
  • We’re working to make 100% of our packaging reusable, recyclable or compostable by 2021 or sooner, making cutting-edge innovations to reach our goal.

  • Most UK recycling plants have problems handling black plastic for technical reasons, so we’re investigating phasing this out. Clear plastic trays are widely recyclable and ours are made from 70% recycled plastic.

  • NEW for 2019: we’re trialling plant-powered packaging. Sugarcanes are harvested, collected and squeezed to produce sucrose. The dry pulpy residue that’s left behind is often discarded. Not by us. Turns out this material, bagasse, is perfect for our Dozen Quail Eggs.

Paper and cardboard:

What have we done so far?
  • We’re now printing recycling guidance on all new products: easy-to-follow info. on how to recycle and dispose of packaging. Our whole range is currently being updated. Just flip over the box and check.

  • We’ve stopped using polystyrene fillers to protect products during delivery. Polystyrene isn’t biodegradable or easily recyclable. Instead, we use corrugated paper that is 100% recyclable.

  • Almost all our card and paper is certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC). FSC certification guarantees that the wood pulp used to make our card and paper comes from sustainably managed forests. It’s all manufactured and shipped within the UK, keeping its carbon footprint small, and we plant trees in Ghana and Saint Lucia too.

  • We’ve saved 125 tonnes of cardboard a year by recycling all the cardboard boxes we use for shipping products to and from our stores. Our store teams unpack them, carefully break them down and send them back to the factory for their next chocolate trip.

  • We’re saving around 150 tonnes of corrugated cardboard over five years with a smarter, slimmer redesign of our Hotel Chocolat Subscription Tasting Boxes. This also saves around 1.8 tonnes of shrink-wrapped plastic every year.

  • We’re using less paper and postage every year by switching over to mostly digital communication and invoicing for our guests and subscribers.
What's Next?
  • We’re giving our range a design makeover to make packaging more environmentally friendly, simpler and more lightweight. We’re increasing the amount of recycled material we use, reducing box volumes and using fewer components. Slimmer, lighter products will also have a smaller carbon footprint for shipping and delivery.

  • We’re introducing plant-fibre reusable cups for our cafés. Bring them back and we’ll give you a 50p discount on your drink!

  • We are designing more packaging to be useful in a ‘second life’. For example, our Extra-Thick Egg hatboxes and hamper boxes are great for home storage, and our 100% natural jute and cotton bags will keep going long after you’ve taken our chocolate home.

  • We're getting rid of laminated card from our packaging where we can. Laminated card is sometimes need to create a clean contact between food and paper or card. But you can’t recycle it and it’s not always needed.

  • We’re reducing the amount of gold and silver foil we use, ensuring our chocolate boxes are recyclable or compostable.

  • We’re avoiding chemical-heavy printing in favour of environmentally friendly, sustainable alternatives like vegetable inks.