Some bitter news about chocolate

The Hustle

Happy Wednesday, all. We’re halfway through the week, and all the way through our office snacks. Hang in there, folks. Today:

  • The truth about chocolate isn’t so sweet
  • A new housing development bans cars on the street
  • High end bank vaults keep people’s wealth discreet

Stay curious.

The Hustle Daily Email

Chocolatiers promised sustainability. But 10 years later, the chocolate still ain’t sweet

Spit out that chocolate Santa head right now. 

In 2009, Mars Inc., maker of M&M’s, Snickers, and other impulse-aisle confections, said it would start using only sustainably harvested cocoa as a means of addressing climate change. 

But last year, Mars bumped back its target date from 2020 to 2025.

What difference does 5 years make?

Potentially a lot. Rainforests help stabilize the climate by absorbing and storing carbon dioxide. Some estimates say deforestation accounts for 10% of greenhouse gas emissions.

In 2017, the world lost 40 football fields’ worth of rainforest per minute. According to the nonprofit Global Forest Watch, demand for cocoa, timber, palm oil, beef, rubber, and soybeans — you vegans ain’t off the hook — have contributed to the situation.

So, like, stop buying from farmers who cut down trees

It’s not that easy. Thousands of farmers growing cocoa plants operate independently on small plots. They sell their crops to middlemen who sell to cooperatives who then sell to the trading houses that sell to chocolate companies.

Ideally, it’d be possible to trace cocoa back to its source. However, effective certification requires a census, surveys, and satellite maps — and often these systems aren’t in place. So who’s surprised that uncertified cocoa makes it into certified supply chains?

But Mars seems willing to put its money where its mouth is

Mars, which commands 150 chocolate factories worldwide, is part of a campaign lobbying Congress to tax companies based on how much carbon they emit.

Unlike many companies, Mars includes the supply chain when calculating its carbon footprint. Under a proposed penalty of $50/ton, Mars would owe $1B+/annually — which could make knocking back emissions an even greater priority.

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Would you buy a house in a community with no cars?

The founders of a new housing development called Culdesac certainly think so. 

Culdesac, which calls itself the “first car-free neighborhood from scratch in the United States,” plans to open its doors in Tempe, Arizona, in fall 2020. And they say people are clamoring to live in their $140m experiment.

The 1k-person neighborhood will feature restaurants, a grocery store, a gym, a light rail stop, and even a dog park. But if you want to be a resident, you have to ditch your wheels.

Sure, people will have access to car shares, Ubers, and Lyfts…

But the point is to build a city where people can get to work, get what they need, and reasonably entertain themselves without having to own a car.

Transportation emissions in the US continue to rise, even though it’s now clearer than ever that we need to drastically reduce our emissions in order to (maybe) fend off the most horrific impacts of climate change. Building housing near public transit is a good way to get cars off the road.

Research points to the health benefits of green space…

And Culdesac emphasizes that they’re pulling out parking to make room for just that. Their website doesn’t have much content; instead, there are cartoons of people wearing hip clothing — one walking a dog, another biking.

It’s pretty clear they’re marketing to millennials, who may be interested in a simpler, more sustainable lifestyle.

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Snag a $50 Amazon gift card when you attend a demo

That’s right, is offering you straight cash (okay, a gift card) in exchange for attending a demo of their travel software.

Why? Simple — they think once you see it, you’ll believe it. 

And, having ugly-cried in the office bathroom trying to book work trips before, we’re inclined to agree. 

Scouring search engines, coordinating hotel and flight bundles, double-checking dates and times all adds up to one seriously complicated process, but is about to put those days of sobbing in the 4th floor restroom behind you. 

Forecast, budget, and reduce travel spend like only a pro can

Created by the same folks that brought you KAYAK, corporate travel software is built with one thing in mind: Making your life easier

What makes it so simple? Well… everything. 

See, keeps all your info in one place. You can book flights and hotels, handle expense reports, and manage itineraries, all from within their intuitive interface. 

Plus,’s 24/7 travel support team makes sure that when the slightest of inconveniences arise (“There was no chocolate on my hotel pillow!”), someone will be available to help you sort it out. 

Enough talk — go snag your $50 gift card and get that new ergonomic travel pillow you’ve been eyeing. 

*Terms apply.

Learn about →

Ultra-luxury safety deposit boxes are locking up some big business

Next week, a company called International Bank Vaults (IBV) will start selling access to the world’s most expensive safety deposit boxes.

According to a report from The Guardian, these bougie boxes will cater to the growing crowd of UHNW people (“ultra-high net worth” individuals — their words, not ours) who want to stash their cash. 

These boxes aren’t built for everyone

The vault’s cheapest and tiniest box — just 2 inches high by 6.3 inches wide by 19.3 inches deep — still costs around $779 per year. By comparison, a box twice the size at the UK’s biggest safety deposit provider costs just $311.99.

“We won’t deal with millionaires,” Sean Hoey, the managing director of the vault, told The Guardian. “We will be dealing only with billionaires.”

So, why are these bougie bank vaults on the rise?

One reason that the world’s wealthiest are stashing their loot is to avoid losing their money to a potential recession or to banks that are starting to charge customers to hold onto their money.

But these UHNW individuals also see these vaunted vaults as status symbols — and so companies like IBV want to make their vaults feel more like elite clubs than Wells Fargo locations.

Customers who stash their cash in the soon-to-open vault will be able to catch a ride to the 120-year-old mansion in London where the vault’s located in a Rolls-Royce with the license plate “II IBV.”

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Does reporting scare you? Learn how to take the fear and mystery out of the numbers with Meltwater

So, you’ve been asked to report on something — join the club. 

Unfortunately, one look at the endless piles of data you’ll have to sift through is enough to make you feel queasy. Uh-oh.

Before you set your Slack to snooze and call in sick with the “dry heaves,” check out the Field Guide to Reporting from Meltwater. 

This free download covers… 

  • How to get started and what you need to succeed
  • The 6 key aspects that make up a great report (defend 👏 that 👏 budget 👏) 
  • A step-by-step guide you can follow from start to finish
  • 8 important pain points and how to avoid them

Hell, it even tells you how to tweak your report based on who you’re presenting to (talk about catering to the crowd). 

How do we know this guide is any good? Because it comes from Meltwater, duh. They specialize in media intelligence, and have over 30K clients globally that trust them to help with everything from news and social media monitoring to analytics and reporting. 

Download this free guide and save your sick days for when you actually need ‘em… like after the holiday party. 

Free download →
What Else…

💸 A big bank’s bet on blockchain. HSBC announced plans to move $20B worth of assets to a blockchain-based system called Digital Vault by March. That $20B represents 40% of the bank’s $50B in assets.

📦 If your package disappeared in the mail, you’re not alone… In fact, The New York Times reports that 90k packages disappear in New York every day — around a 20% increase from 4 years ago.

🍎 How about them apples? A new breed of apple called the Cosmic Crisp, which is finally for sale after decades of development, is allegedly crunchy enough to last for up to a year in the fridge (check out the wild website here).

📼 The WeWork debacle is becoming a movie. According to Axios, the screenwriter behind “The Big Short” is slated to turn the tale of WeWork’s downfall into a feature film.

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