What is Slave-Free Chocolate?

tonys chocolonely

During your search for ethical products, you might have come across the term slave-free chocolate. This little known type of chocolate pushes for a 100% slave-free chocolate industry. Leading the line is Tony’s Chocolonely, a Dutch company whose mission is to change the chocolate industry. Buy a bar or three of Tony’s Chocolonely 100% slave-free chocolate from Baba Me, and help push this cause further.

To understand the slave-free chocolate, you must first understand the chocolate industry.

The Sad State of the Chocolate Industry

The chocolate industry is a multibillion industry driven by cocoa plantations and cocoa farmers. Nonetheless, whereas the big chocolate companies make millions and even billions of euros of revenue each year, the average cocoa farmer from a country in West Africa, the world’s largest cocoa-producing region, earns just 67- euro cents a day.

Farmers are unable to sustain their lives, let alone their farming activities. The result is high debts, child labour, and exploitation to help cut down on costs. In 2001, this situation prompted chocolate manufacturers of the world to sign the Harkin-Engel Protocol, which aimed at producing slave-free chocolate as of 2005 onwards.

Nonetheless, none of the companies in the agreement make an effort to uphold it. This means that most of the chocolate in the market has been produced from cocoa beans reared by child labourers or exploited workers. The state of the chocolate industry is such that the manufacturers keep making millions day in day out, while the cocoa farmer is left to languish in poverty.

A Special Recipe to End Modern Slavery and Child Labour

The massive inequalities in the chocolate industry prompted ethical brands like Tony’s Chocolonely to come up with slave-free chocolate. Slave-free chocolate is chocolate produced by cocoa beans cultivated free of child labour, forced labour, or exploitation.

Companies involved in the manufacture of slave-free chocolate make an effort to end slavery and child labour in cocoa-growing regions. How do they do it? Take Tony’s Chocolonely as an example. The company has been making slave-free chocolate for 14 years now.

Here is their recipe to ending modern slavery and child labour, and producing slave-free chocolate.

  • Traceable cocoa beans

  • Paying a higher price above the Fairtrade premium so farmers can earn a decent income and comfortably run their farms.

  • Strong farmers- Investing in cooperatives and allowing farmers to achieve economies of scale.

  • Working with farmers and cooperatives in the long term, giving them income security and allowing them to invest.

  • Encouraging improved productivity and less dependency on cocoa.

Changing the Industry

The ultimate goal of brands like Tony’s Chocolonely is to change the chocolate industry and make 100% slave-free chocolate the norm. Here is how they plan to do it:

  • To create awareness for both farmers and consumers

  • To lead by example

  • To inspire action

They can’t do it alone. Tony’s Chocolonely can only do as to manufacture slave-free chocolate. Baba Me can only do so much as to make it available for you to buy. They need you. Every bar of Tony’s Chocolonely bought allows a West African farmer to provide for their family, and a school going child to keep going to school. Help change the lives of cocoa farmers in West Africa by buying Tony’s Chocolonely.


Next Up: Tony’s Chocolonely, the Story Behind the Brand