Jon Stocking’s interest in helping those who can’t help themselves started in 1984 when he was on a tuna boat trying to make enough money to put himself through culinary school—and witnessed the fishing practices of the pre–dolphin-safe tuna era. When the nets came in, they held not only tuna but sharks, turtles, swordfish, and dolphins as well. On a whim he can’t quite explain, Stocking jumped from the boat into the ocean (yes, with the sharks) to disentangle the dolphins and other unintended catches. Nearly a decade later, Stocking returned to his ecoleanings when he started the Endangered Species Chocolate Company with the idea of helping the planet. At least 10 percent of the company’s net annual profits are given to endangered species recovery efforts. Each chocolate wrapper is adorned with a drawing by Stocking of an endangered animal.
Q. How successful have you been in your quest to save endangered species?
A. Since 1994 we’ve donated $250,000 to environmental groups. The money goes to organizations such as the Jane Goodall Institute, Defenders of Wildlife, and the National Wildlife Federation. I’m merely the messenger. I’m not the person living in Libya protecting cheetahs from poachers, but once a year I do go someplace in the world and do unpaid work in the field.
Q. Why chocolate?
A. People like a little indulgence from time to time, and what better way to indulge in something than to satisfy your tastebuds and your conscience? I’m helping to inspire a vigilant consumer, someone who will read the labels of a product and make conscious purchasing choices.
Q. How do you eat your chocolate?
A. I take small tastes, and I have a tendency to analyze the chocolate in my mouth. I check for mouthfeel, how it melts on my tongue, and flavor. And sometimes I just cram the whole thing in my mouth because I’m a guy.