Tony's Chocolonely are on a mission to make 100% slave free the norm in chocolate and they need your help!
Modern slavery and child labor are still a huge problem in the cocoa industry with farmers being forced to live in poverty while big profits are made by big companies.
Tony's only buy beans directly from cooperatives so their cocoa is fully traceable, they pay a Tony's premium, over and above the Fairtrade premium, and they commit to supporting farmers in the long term. All you have to do is choose their delicious chocolate.
A company on a mission
Tony's Chocolonely was started by Dutch Journalist Tuen van de Keuken in response to his realisation that child labour and modern slavery were rife in West Africa where 60% of the worlds cocoa is produced. He turned himself in to Dutch authorities as a chocolate criminal, west to find witnesses to speak against him in court, and finally decided to lead by example and produce his own Fairtrade and slave-free chocolate.
Tony's realised that in order to truly be 100% slave-free they had to work directly with farming cooperatives to ensure their beans were 100% traceable and to pay a higher price to ensure farmers were able to support their families and children were not required to work in unacceptable ways.
An unequally divided bar
One of the first things you will notice when you open a bar of Tony's Chocolonely chocolate (after the fact that the packaging is 100% recyclable) is the irregular shapes of the pieces. Tony's have deliberately made their bars almost impossible to share equally in response to the massive inequalities in the chocolate industry.
The average cocoa farmer on the Ivory Coast earns just 67 euro cents a day, that's not enough to live on and the result is child labour, high debts, forced labour and exploitation.
Tony's 3 pillar road map
In order to combat this problem Tony's have set out a road map consisting of three pillars:
- To create awareness both for consumers and farmers.
Retailers and consumers can demand slave-free chocolate. If they do then the big companies will have to oblige.
And farmers need to understand that while it's fine for children to help out after school and learn about growing cocoa, they do need to go to school and that some activities such as heavy lifting, are dangerous for children.
Tony's pay a fair price and aim to ensure everyone in the supply chain is happy from the farmers and their children to the lucky end consumer. But they aim to be commercially successful too, to prove that change is possible.
And they don't just want to lead by example, they actively seek out partners in the industry, seek to share the lessons they have learnt and are willing to take on others good practices.
The Rules of the Game
As well as a road map Tony's have drawn up a set of five principles of cooperation, that if followed all together will allow any company to join them in producing 100% slave-free Fairtrade Chocolate.
- Traceable beans
- Higher Price - above the Fairtrade premium so people can escape the poverty trap.
- Strong Farmers - investing in cooperatives allows farmers to achieve economies of scale.
- The Long Term - Tony's work with farmers for at least 5 years giving security and allowing them to invest.
- Improved productivity and less dependency on cocoa.