The Chocolate Museum: education for sustainable development

The subject of sustainability is an integral element of the museum’s guiding principles. In our exhibition we inform you about the problematic living and working conditions of people in the countries where our raw materials are grown, as well as about the challenges which the cultivation of cocoa places on the ecology Using current examples, we show how companies and organizations are working together towards improving this difficult situation. The information undergoes regular revision and updating.

Sustainability is a key issue in the museum’s educational and communication programmes. The museum offers school classes a theme tour called “Chocolate – a treat for everyone”? during which, besides the problems and challenges mentioned above, communicates to the school-children what they themselves as consumers can do to improve the situation of the cocoa farmers.

Besides continuous offers in the museum’s educational programmes, events focusing on the topic of sustainability are held at regular intervals. June 2018, saw the premiere of a theme week on “Chocolate and cocoa – sustainable and fair!” Guided tours, lectures and international symposia on the subject also took place. Furthermore, organizations and action groups engaged in fair trade and sustainability presented their work. The theme week on sustainability is to be repeated in future at regular intervals; for example from 30 May to 7 June 2019.

The Chocolate Museum aims at setting up long-term educational partnerships with schools to include the subject of sustainability. A visit to the Chocolate Museum is to form an integral part of the school curriculum. In order to enhance the quality of its own educational work and to provide a more attractive extra-curricular venue for learning, the Chocolate Museum was certified in December 2018.

Guided Tour for school classes

No chocolate without cocoa? But who actually farms cocoa? What does a typical day for a cocoa farmer in cocoa-producing countries look like? On this tour, we present the work and living standards in the most important cocoa-producing regions. We explain to you how the lives of cocoa farmers have improved and what still needs to be done.

In addition, we discuss the seals, programmes and initiatives dedicated to sustainable and fair cocoa production. You will find out the key facts about the activities and campaigns run by chocolate producers and the chocolate trade. You then learn what each of us can do so that all can benefit from the sustainable manufacture of chocolate products.

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The Chocolate Museum: sustainability action group

Since 2012, the Chocolate Museum has been a member of the Forum for Sustainable Cocoa Production, a consortium consisting of federal ministries, companies in the confectionary industry, trading companies and the civil society. A key goal of the forum is to improve the living conditions of the cocoa farmers and their families and to secure their livelihoods. With its participation in the working groups, the Chocolate Museum also contributes to the ongoing discussions. Furthermore, the Museum supports the educational work of the forum by providing professional advice and by organizing events such as the “Green Week” in Berlin.

In addition, the Chocolate Museum is part of the Action Group Global City Cologne within which the Museum supported the city of Cologne in its successful application to become “City of Fair Trade”. The Chocolate Museum and its offers are part of the town’s sustainability action group and, this year, will be taking part in the Fair Trade Night for the first time.

Besides the above-mentioned educational work on the topic of sustainability, the Chocolate Museum also aims at achieving a sustainable facility management. For example, since 2016 it has been supplied only with green energy and all light sources have been replaced with energy-saving LED lighting. As our museum has been certified since December 2018 as an extra-curricular educational institute for sustainability, we will be compiling an annual sustainability report in future and defining further objectives on the subject of sustainability.

In this way, the Chocolate Museum’s efforts are endorsing the goals for sustainable development which have been set down by the international community in its Agenda 2030. The German federal government has summarized the seventeen UN sustainability goals under

The campaign makes it quite clear that responsibility does not lie solely with the politicians. Without the commitment of business, science, the civil society and each and every one of us, it will not be possible to achieve these goals. We urge you to join in!

The Chocolate Museum: cooperations

The Chocolate Museum has been cooperating for some years now with the Rain Forest Foundation OroVerde in Bonn. With its sales of chocolate from an “historical” chocolate vending machine in the exhibition, the project “Organic Cocoa from the Rain Forest” supports the Rain Forest Foundation OroVerde in Guatemala where smallholders are taking part in a replanting campaign to create new areas of rain forest.

Organic cocoa and other food crops are then planted in the shade of these trees. The smallholders receive training in organic cultivation methods so that they can produce healthier foods on a smaller area and at the same time preserve soil fertility in the long term. The local people benefit directly from the newly-created rain forest as they can generate a small income with the sale of the products – and at the same time, cultivate the valuable raw material for organic chocolate.