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Tony's Chocolonely urges EU Commission to raise the due diligence bar

25 mei 2021

Amsterdam, 25 May 2021 –  Tony’s Chocolonely, the company on a mission to make 100% slave free the norm in chocolate, has shared a list of demands with the EU Commission for inclusion in the upcoming corporate accountability and due diligence law. The proposed Directive on Sustainable Corporate Governance will make companies responsible for what happens in their supply chains, directly or indirectly. Now Tony’s is urging lawmakers to include a strict set of baseline conditions:

  1. Big or small, all companies must be bound by law. Especially in high-risk sectors such as cocoa.
  2. An adequate standard of living is a human right, and companies’ purchasing practices should enable producers to earn a living income.
  3. Companies must use a clear, understandable and publicly accessible reporting framework that includes mandatory checks on key human rights and environmental issues. 4. EU member states must take legal action when companies do not fulfil their due diligence obligations, and victims of human rights violations must be guaranteed easy access to justice and remedies in EU courts.

“The chocolate industry is a high-risk industry for human rights and environmental violations – and we want to make very sure that no company, big or small, is exempt from taking responsibility” says Paul Schoenmakers, Head of Impact at Tony’s Chocolonely. “In Germany, for example, a company the size of Tony’s can get away with exploitation simply because they fall below the large enterprise category. We want to make sure that in the new due diligence law this will never be the case.”

The list of demands follows Tony’s public petitioning to create legislation against illegal child labor and modern slavery, and their outspoken support of the Lara Wolters report which will form the basis of the new law. Although the EU Parliament voted in favor of the Lara Wolters report in March, the original proposal could be at risk of being watered down as a result of lobbying efforts from lagging companies. By publicizing the demands, Tony’s hopes to raise awareness to a level that would prevent the law from becoming another empty promise from certain chocolate makers.

As Schoenmakers explains, “to change the chocolate industry, the new legislation needs to close any loopholes. We urge the EU Commission to keep in line with the UN Guiding Principles and OECD’s ‘6 Steps in Due Diligence’ guidelines for multinational enterprises. And because we have these steps in place – from our rights-based roadmap guiding company policy, our 5 Sourcing Principles for fairer cocoa and fully transparent reporting in our Annual FAIR Report – we know this is not an impossible ask for other companies, too. And we can help companies make the transition with Tony’s Open Chain.”

As well as benefitting producers such as cocoa farmers, the new law promises an advantage for consumers as well. They will be able to shop for any products in the whole EU market with the certainty that the companies are doing their best to Tony’s Chocolonely urges EU Commission to raise the due diligence bar monitor, prevent, mitigate and remediate social or environmental exploitation, or else be held accountable.


About Tony’s Chocolonely:  

Tony’s Chocolonely is a B-Corp, Fairtrade-certified chocolate-maker that puts social impact before profit – going beyond certifications to make chocolate 100% slave-free. Not just their own chocolate, but all chocolate worldwide.  

The company was founded in 2005 by three journalists from the Dutch TV show ‘Keuringsdienst van Waarde’ after they discovered that the world’s largest chocolate manufacturers were buying cocoa from plantations that used illegal child labor and modern slavery.  

Since then, Tony’s Chocolonely has dedicated its efforts to raising awareness of and eliminating inequality in the chocolate industry. Tony’s Chocolonely leads by example, building direct long-term relationships with cocoa farmers in Ghana and Ivory Coast, paying them a higher price and working together to solve the underlying causes of modern slavery.  

Tony’s Chocolonely wants to inspire the industry as a whole to make 100% slave-free the norm in chocolate. The brand has grown to become the market leader in the Netherlands and its bars are now available almost worldwide, with offices in the Netherlands, USA, UK and Germany (DACH).   

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