The VIPs in the cocoa chain who can make change happen (psst.. you're on the list)
It’s no news that Tony’s mission is to make chocolate 100% slave free. But there’s an important nuance you might have missed. We’re not just talking about our chocolate, but all chocolate worldwide. For that to happen, all of us need to play our part - from chocolate companies to Choco Fans, governments to retailers, and cocoa farmers too. Here’s how..
What’s not to love about chocolate? Well, 1.56 million children and at least 30,000 victims of modern slavery working illegally on cocoa plantations. But chocolate can also be a powerful force of change to make exploitation a shame of the past. One of Tony’s brand pillars is to inspire to act, and we’ve put together this list to show how each of the 5 key players in the cocoa supply chain can do their bit to make the long-term difference.
.. especially Big Choco can be part of the sweet solution by sourcing fairly, putting human rights before profit and being legally accountable for their supply chain
In 2019/20 Tony’s sourced 6,711 tons of traceable beans, paid famers the Living Income Reference Price and continued to build long-term relationships that help the coops prosper. We’re working our beans off for 100% slave-free chocolate, but it’s not enough to change all chocolate when it’s just us. We need all chocolate companies to do the same. Especially Big Choco, because with their big cocoa volumes, they have the most power to change the rules of the game.
And we’ve made it easy to start with Tony’s 5 Sourcing Principles (no cherry picking) - designed so all chocolate makers (us included) can take 100% responsibility for their entire supply chain. We’ve also developed Tony’s Open Chain: a collaborative initiative for chocolate companies to work with an open and transparent supply chain. Among our mission allies is also the German chocolate brand Jokolade.
..can be part of the sweet solution by passing laws to hold companies accountable for their supply chains and making sure revenues flow to cocoa communities
For 20 years, the chocolate industry has been promising to end illegal child labor. But the bitter truth is, these problems still exist. From signed protocols like Harkin–Engel to voluntary schemes, it’s simply not working because it’s not the law. Governments in consuming countries need to step in and implement legislation for human rights due diligence: holding companies accountable by law for illegal child labor and modern slavery in their supply chains.
Governments in producing countries also need to step up their game around minimum wages for cocoa workers and enforcing existing laws against forced and child labor. They can also facilitate the implementation and improvement of rights-based monitoring and remediation systems.
..can be part of the sweet solution by choosing who they give shelf space and making fairly sourced own-brand chocolate
We like to think we have choices — and we do! — but so often those choices are limited to what’s put directly in front of us. Retailers have huge influence on consumer choices and can make a big difference by deciding which brands to stock and where they are displayed on shelves. Not to mention how they source beans for their own-brand chocolate.
We’re super proud to call Dutch supermarket giant Albert Heijn our mission ally , with their entire Delicata range sourced responsibly and sustainably on Tony’s Open Chain. German discount retailer ALDI has also joined Tony’s Open Chain and developed a chocolate bar range that sources beans using Tony’s 5 Sourcing Principles to take direct responsibility for their supply chain and ending exploitation and poverty at the root of chocolate’s bitter truth. Same as us, as well as using 100% traceable cocoa beans, they pay a premium directly to farmers, so farmers get the full benefit of the higher price, rather than it being divided along the supply chain.
..can be part of the sweet solution by upholding children’s and human rights and running more professional farms
2.5 million cocoa farmers in Ghana and Ivory Coast produce 60-70% of the world’s cocoa. Yet they have zero say over the price of cocoa. A price kept so low, they have little choice but resorting to getting their children to perform dangerous work on the farm and even using unpaid labor to survive.
Key to tackling this is talking to farmers about children’s and human rights. Upskilling on diversification and productivity also helps improve yields and income (and helps against deforestation).
..can be part of the sweet solution by making conscious choices, spreading the message and putting pressure on industry and government
Once you know the bitter truth that’s still hiding in most of the world’s chocolate, you can’t un-know. Which makes it sooo important to get the message out there. And the more people who know, the more people who will choose for slave-free chocolate. And demand accountability from chocolate makers. Which will influence market development. The power to change the chocolate industry is in your hands!
Illegal child labor and modern slavery are chocolate’s bitter truth. We are all part of the problem, but when we work together, we can all be part of the sweet solution.