Chocolate buzz

Ivory Coast gets most of its power from fossil fuels — and a lot of its money from chocolate. It is the world’s largest producer of cocoa, with more than six million people employed in the industry. Now the waste left over from processing all that chocolatey deliciousness is being used to propel the West African country’s transition to greener energy.

When processing cocoa beans, the shells, husks and liquid runoff are usually thrown away. To divert this waste from the landfill, Ivory Coast is preparing to open West Africa’s largest biomass plant, a clean energy generator that will run entirely on cocoa leftovers and put out 70 megawatts of power, preventing 4.5 million tons of emissions per year. “This plant alone will be able to meet the electricity needs of 1.7 million people,” said one executive involved in building it. The facility is scheduled to open in 2023.

In addition to electricity, the project will generate income for cocoa farmers at a time when a global oversupply of cocoa has reduced their profits. Farmers will receive dividends from the plant’s energy revenues, and the Ivorian government is developing a plan for a loan-disbursing cocoa farmer community cooperative linked to the plant. “Considering I am a widow — my husband died 18 years ago — extra income will also help me educate my four grandchildren,” said one cocoa farmer. “With more money, I can also save.”

Read more at BBC

Edible app

Dumpster diving is going digital. 

One-third of the food produced worldwide ends up in landfills, a massive amount of waste that accounts for up to 10 percent of global carbon emissions. Dumpster divers do their part to cut down on this, salvaging perfectly good food from the trash. But sifting through the garbage isn’t for everyone — for those that want to scavenge from home, Too Good To Go is an app that allows users to save food via smartphone. Through the app, bakeries, restaurants and supermarkets sell their excess food to local consumers in the form of affordable “surprise bags” that the user can later pick up for about five dollars. 

Too Good To Go builds on the efforts of companies that sell “ugly” produce like the Hungry Harvest and Imperfect Foods. It’s a formidable market — one recent study analyzed 170,000 posts on OLIO, an app that lets users give away food and other household items to their neighbors, and found that $1 million worth of food was diverted from garbage cans thanks to people giving it away.

“We know that we’re saving close to 200,000 meals every day now, but it’s just a drop in the ocean, really, so we need to do more, we need to go faster,” said Lucie Basch, co-founder of Too Good To Go. 

Read more at Next City

Crisis management

The new Fortune 500 list was unveiled last week, and it showed that, while there’s still a long way to go, women leaders continue to make inroads in corporate America’s boys’ club. 

According to the list, 41 of the country’s largest businesses are led by women — more than at any other time in the six decades that the list has been published. Two of them are black women, Roz Brewer and Thasunda Brown Duckett, chief executives of Walgreens and TIAA, respectively.

The banner year for women CEOs may have something to do with the atmosphere of crisis. According to The 19th, research has shown that in times of turbulence, women are often elevated into leadership roles — a phenomenon known as the “glass cliff.” 

Though women still only represent 8.2 percent of the names on the Forbes list, the incremental progress is a sign that “we’re going in the right direction,” said Fullick-Jagiela, co-director of the People’s United Center for Women. 

Read more at The 19th