Clasen Quality Chocolate: Creating Meaningful Impact at Home

Author Jack Jensen

Business Analyst
Clasen Quality Chocolate
Photo by Clasen Quality Chocolate

In a Schroders sustainable investing survey conducted last year, 78% of respondents said sustainable investing is more important to them now than it was five years ago. Most companies in the cocoa and chocolate industry share that outlook and are making great strides to improve sustainability with a particular focus at origin. The great things being accomplished are showing that sustainability is more than a buzzword. These days people want to know when they spend their money it is being used in ways that are helpful and not harmful.

Clasen Quality Chocolate (CQC) is a small player in the global chocolate game. Since our founding in the 1950’s, our focus has been on compounds and confections. We have come to understand our supply lines very well in those markets and do what we can to ethically source our ingredients. CQC is a proud member of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO). As a member, we contribute to the production of certified sustainable palm oil. As CQC’s portfolio evolves to include more chocolate, we are increasing our effort to build a sustainable cocoa supply chain. As a relatively small, non-integrated manufacturer in Wisconsin, we are a long ways away from the places where our cocoa grows. The physical and operational distance from origin presents hurdles but we still do what we can to have a positive impact. We rely on organizations like the WCF to help us understand the issues at origin and how we can help. Beyond that, not being vertically integrated, we do what we can to affect change at origin when we buy. For example, we buy certified cocoa products through the major certifying bodies like Fair Trade.

Our impact in cocoa is growing, but it is small compared to the major players in our industry that have operations all over the globe. Does that mean that we can leave saving the world to the big guys? Of course not. Even if we are not in a position to make the biggest impact at origin, we know we can create meaningful impact at home. CQC is committed to operating in a responsible manner while minimizing our impact on the environment and making positive contributions in the communities in which we operate.

Photo by Clasen Quality Chocolate

We do this in pursuit of our goal of being the preferred supplier of chocolate and confectionery coatings. A few ways we live those values can be seen in our operations. We have installed closed-loop water cooling systems that reduce our water consumption by 40 million gallons annually. Early in 2017 we installed a solar energy system that will produce 3,893,300 kWh and help prevent over 3,000 tons of carbon dioxide from entering the atmosphere. Our facilities also have LED lighting that further reduces our carbon emissions by 62.5 tons per year. We enhanced our recycling program, which now diverts 150 tons from landfills each year. Most recently, we opened our new production facility in Spanish Springs, Nevada, a state of the art facility designed to be efficient and sustainable.

The CQC Way means leveraging our team and resources in order to minimize our impact on the environment and drive positive change wherever we can.  As we grow our business to include more cocoa-based products, it is increasingly important for us to be aware of our potential impact on the supply chain, both positive and negative, so that we can be a force for good with the support of organizations like WCF.  As CQC steps out into the global market, we intend to follow the good examples set by the other leaders in our industry and promise to put our best foot forward to create a sustainable marketplace for chocolate and cocoa-based products. It is very important to us to take care of our home, the only world we have and one we all share.