Toward a Healthier Climate – NEW Recyclable Packaging + Zero Foodprint!
We are proud to announce a major move toward a healthier climate with our new fully recyclable packaging. Launched in March 2023, the switch from plastic boxes to new recyclable cardboard is part of Dean’s Sweets’ ongoing environmental effort. At Dean’s Sweets, we are commitment to sustainability and reducing our environmental footprint.
And, at the same time, we are thrilled to announce a partnership with Zero Foodprint. Zero Foodprint is a nonprofit organization that channels one percent of sales – whether from a restaurant, a winery, or a chocolatier – to support farmers building healthy soil and drawing down carbon.
The switch from plastic to cardboard is something Dean’s Sweets has planned to do for several years. Our original plastic boxes had an elegant and functional aesthetic, which allowed our customers to see the color, texture, shine, and refinement of the chocolate. When we started our business in 2004, it was the best way to showcase the beauty of the chocolate itself without “over packaging,” as many boutique chocolate businesses do. And, we justified, the plastic was recyclable, too. But we now know that plastic is harder to recycle, fewer people do it, it takes more energy. And even once recycled, plastic is damaging to the earth, to our oceans, and to our climate.
Making the Switch
There are obvious complexities involved when making a major brand upgrade, and it did take us some time to make the switch. We had great help, however, from our designer, Nicki Fenderson of Sugar-jets Studio. We’ve worked with Nicki many times before, and we know she understands our brand. She was able to take our “raw” design requests for form and function, plus a long list of package-size requirements, and turn it all into what we now have: elegant, durable, and environmentally friendly packaging.
It took many months and several iterations as all good design does, but we got it. We’d like to think our brand has always evoked “simple elegance” and we’d like to thank Nicki who has helped us get there. Equally, Nicki helped us move toward a healthier climate every step of the way, from the ink in the new design to the recyclable cardboard inserts inside the new boxes.
We’d also like to thank our photographer, Darren Setlow, who patiently and painstakingly helped us bring our new designs to life “on film.” Darren is a commercial and architectural photographer who captures the essential sense of place (and product) with detailed, careful compositions. He brought his vast experience, his expert eye, and his calm presence to the task of showing off our new designs and we couldn’t be happier with the result. Thank you, Darren!
We’re proud to be joining forces with Zero Foodprint. As new Zero Foodprint members in the effort to reduce carbon and restore the soil, Dean’s Sweets is committed to donate one percent of net sales. These funds, collected from businesses big and small from across the country, combine to support regenerative agricultural. Regenerative agriculture, a holistic approach to farming that focuses on improving soil health and biodiversity, also sequesters carbon from the atmosphere.
With Zero Foodprint, our contribution, combined with those of other like-minded businesses, has the potential to fund enough regenerative agriculture to sequester between half and all carbon that humans emit every year. It’s a table-to-farm movement Dean’s Sweets can be a part of. And, we hope, we can encourage other businesses to join us as well.
Investments in Farms Are Investments in a Healthy Future
With grants from Zero Foodprint, farmers invest in the best proven practices geared toward a healthy planet. This includes applying compost instead of pesticides, planting cover crops, and managing grazing. The efforts are beneficial in (at least) two ways in that they sequester carbon while enriching the soil. We can’t think of a better way to help than through a program that is directly related to the food we eat and the Earth we live on. As Zero Foodprint advocates, “Let’s eat our way out of the climate crisis.”
One Percent to Restore the Planet
Transparency is key as we implement the one percent contribution to Zero Foodprint. Dean’s Sweets is adding a one percent charge, labeled “Zero Foodprint” on each receipt on every purchase. Notification of the surcharge and information on Zero Foodprint is displayed at check out. More information on Zero Foodprint is also in highly visible locations in both our Portland, ME stores and on the website. Customers are always given the opportunity to “opt-out” with any and all transactions.
Tax Implications and Where the Funds Go
Because Dean’s Sweets makes the donations based on the one percent surcharge, there are no tax benefits to us. Investments from the one percent donation fund grants that currently support farmers in Colorado and California. Mechanisms for investing in farmers in other states, including Maine, are also underway. As an important and exciting side note, Dorn Cox, the research director at Wolfe’s Neck Center in Freeport, Maine and the lead collaborator on OpenTEAM, is on Zero Foodprint’s Board of Directors.
We are tremendously excited about our new plans leading us toward a healthier climate. Our fully recyclable packaging and our partnership with Zero Foodprint are two initiatives that are both simple and substantive. For us and for many people we talk to, news on the climate crisis is all-but paralyzing. The situation can feel so overwhelming and can often result in a debilitating state of near denial, a feeling that almost nothing can be done. And while we do what we can at home and at work around conserving energy, recycling, reusing, riding our bikes, changing our diet, we know, in world full of carbon emissions, we need to do more. With Zero Foodprint and our new recyclable boxes, we are determined and thrilled to be on the right path toward a healthier climate and planet.
To learn more about Zero Foodprint (ZFP), click here!
As Zero Foodprint members, Dean’s Sweets is committed to donate one percent of net sales to support regenerative agriculture, a holistic approach to farming that focuses on improving soil health and biodiversity, while also sequestering carbon from the atmosphere.
With Zero Foodprint, our contribution, combined with those of other like-minded businesses, has the potential to fund enough regenerative agriculture to sequester between half and all carbon that humans emit every year.
Named “Humanitarian of the Year” by the James Beard Foundation, Zero Foodprint sees the food system emerging from being a major cause of global warming as it currently is, to becoming a major solution in the near future.