Tony’s Mission Lock is a legal mechanism that secures our mission for the rest of eternity, regardless of shareholder structure.
Tony’s Mission Lock in a cocoa shell In June 2023, we introduced a brand-new governing structure to lock our mission of eradicating child and illegal labor from the chocolate industry for many years to come. We hear you ask: but isn’t that already the plan? You’re correct in thinking that our mission and Tony’s 5 Sourcing Principles, as well as the legal obligation of our leadership team to uphold these, are already embedded in Tony’s Articles of Association (the founding documents outlining the purpose of an organization).
As an independent legal structure however, Tony’s Mission Lock has a ‘golden share’(aka a non-economic stake) in the company, which gives them the power to prevent any legal changes to the definition of Tony’s mission, Tony’s 5 Sourcing Principles or any other mission-related articles.
This structure is overseen by 3 independent Mission Guardians whose sole responsibility is to protect Tony’s mission. They act as a public point of contact for any stakeholder concerns and will jump into action to hold Tony’s leadership team to account through several public and judicial escalation levers should a mission drift occur.
This means that Tony’s mission and our 5 Sourcing Principles in Tony’s Articles of Association cannot be amended without the Mission Guardians’ approval – effectively locking Tony’s impact as long as the company exists.
3 independent Mission Guardians with strong track records in social impact and sustainability spheres act as representatives for Tony’s mission. We’ve outlined their credentials below.
Seth Goldman, Founder of Honest Tea and Eat the Change as well as Chair of Beyond Meat, will act as the 1st ever chair of Tony’s Mission Lock. Seth is a world leading impact entrepreneur and has experience in growing mission-led companies under a range of public and private shareholder structures.
Lawyer turned broadcaster Ikenna Azuike is the 2nd Mission Guardian. He brings a breadth of experience in social and climate activism, strategy and journalism as well as an understanding of West Africa’s socioeconomic context and legal experience from his early career as a lawyer to the table.
And finally, a name that might ring a bell: Anne-Wil Dijkstra, Tony’s former Chief of Impact, Operations and People & Culture, rounds off the Mission Guardian trio and brings valuable insider knowledge of Tony’s impact model and hands-on experience implementing this model operationally to the team.
So how does it work? It’s simple: In addition to holding a golden share, Mission Guardians have access to a suite of tools that they can utilize when they believe a major breach of the company’s mission-related responsibilities may be happening.
This 'break glass in emergency’ approach enables them to work proactively and collaboratively with senior management to first understand the details behind any serious concerns expressed to them – and swiftly resolve these. Any stakeholder who has a relationship with the company, including employees, cocoa farmers, business partners and Choco Fans, can anonymously raise any serious concerns with the Mission Guardians via: firstname.lastname@example.org.
In extreme circumstances where these issues are not resolved, the Mission Guardians have the right to escalate these concerns publicly via a double-page spread in the company’s annual FAIR report, through international full-page newspaper advertisements in each of the major markets that Tony’s is active in and, ultimately, by referring the matter for legal investigation and arbitration at the Enterprise Chamber of the Court of Appeal in Amsterdam.
Raising the bar The full details behind the Tony’s Mission Lock structure can be found on tonysmissionlock.org as an open-source guide for other companies to copy or act as an inspiration for more tailored approaches.