This time last year we took a look at the chocolate craze and considered whether we should only buy Fair Trade chocolate. A year on and some things have changed and some things haven’t. Firstly the not so good news. Over the past year a large number of companies have started to create their own “nearly”-fairly-traded schemes in the hope of luring back customers who want to eat ethically. In fact there are now over 300 eco-food labels and it is confusing the public.

Then some better news. When it comes to chocolate there are some standards that set the bar high and which you can eat with confidence knowing workers have had a good deal, the palm oil is sourced sustainably and the chocolate has been produced to the highest environmental standards. UTZ, Rainforest Alliance, Organic standard, RSPO (palm oil), Green Palm Oil, Soil Association certified and Fair Trade are all marks that you can trust.

Then there are those where it gets a bit murky-for example the Cadbury Cocoa Life scheme; which also covers products like Cote D’Or, Freida, Milka and Suchard. As well as the Cocoa Plan scheme managed by Nestle. In both cases they promise an increasingly sustainable approach to producing chocolate; with fairer wages, support for African education programmes and a more sustainable approach to palm oil usage. But read between the lines and all is not as straightforward as it seems. There is a feeling that some of the big suppliers deliberately produce their own labels because the cost of setting the bar higher is seen as too great. So assume that Cocoa Plan and Cocoa Leaf whilst better than nothing are still not nearly as good as the first group.

Then there are those companies where nothing short of a full product boycott will work. To avoid the risk of libel all I will say is that if a chocolate egg, bar or spread carries no sustainable palm oil logo; nor a sustainability mark for the cocoa- you can safely assume they are being lazy. I recently phoned a famous chocolate spread manufacturer who claimed via their customer service helpline that the reason they didn’t have anything written about sustainable palm oil or cocoa was that “it would make a mess of the branding and therefore we rely on people like you phoning to find out.” Rubbish. Lies. If a company has nothing to prove their environmental merit, it is because they don’t have any environmental merit! So don’t buy from them. If you do it will only endorse laziness and bad behaviour and further deplete rainforests, species and livelihoods.

Finally we have heard much about reducing plastic waste. And it is great to see Cadbury’s and others work to tackle the problem this Easter. But let’s not kid ourselves; whilst we continue to wrap our eggs in plastic; we are doing a disservice to the planet. So speak to the manufacturers and demand further change, so that by the time we get to 2020 Hampshire is plastic free for Easter!