Wow, what a night! Tony’s FAIR was a rock‘n’rollercoaster spectacular — from the Afropunk beats of TSHEGUE to the awesome line-up of speakers, and the creation of a new FAIR chocolate bar (mmm.. cinnamon sugar). Livestreaming from Westergasfabriek, Amsterdam, we linked up with global changemakers including Pharrell Williams, Idris Elba, Kate Raworth and Akwasi, inspiring people from around the world to act. The show itself may be over, but the journey for a better tomorrow is showing no signs of stopping..
Hold on, what’s this whole FAIR thing anyway? Tony’s FAIR is our annual stakeholder event, where we gather together with all our friends in the cocoa chain, from Choco Fans to cocoa farmers, to reflect on the work we’ve done, and, most importantly, on what’s still to come. The pretext is the launch of our Annual FAIR report but our real reason is to inspire the world to act with our impact-focused talks. This year was our 8th event, but first ever social-distant savvy digital one.
Raising the bar for social change Our theme for Tony’s FAIR 2020 was Let’s raise the bar for social change. The last 12 months have been challenging on so many levels. But in the hectic times, we saw hope, humanity and the huge strength we have when we share a vision and come together to make change happen. An opportunity to define a new normal: ending the shames of the past and embracing equality. Standing together to stand up for social change.
The changemaker sessions In the spirit of inspiring collective impact, we invited a bunch of social changemakers outside of the chocolate industry to share their visions on creating a fairer future together. Hosting the evening was Sophie Hilbrand, who introduced speakers including ‘doughnut economist’ Kate Raworth, Utopia for Realists author Rutger Bregman, founder of Chobani and the Tent Project for Refugees Hamdi Ulukaya, spoken-word artist and activist Akwasi, and actor and United Nations Agricultural Development Goodwill Ambassador Idris Elba.
Ghanaian filmmaker David Boanuh also teased his new documentary-film collaboration with us, Golden Seeds, where cocoa farmers reclaim their narrative to bring a Ghanaian perspective to the world. Afropunk band TSHEGUE, who created the track for the Tony’s Chocolonely manifesto film earlier this year played from Paris, releasing their new track ‘Mais’.
..and we’re raising a new bar with Pharrell Williams Finally, we can let the cocoa cat out of the bag! Last night we announced a long-term partnership with Pharrell Williams, supporting his Black Ambition program for Black and Latinx entrepreneurs, with the proceeds of a special-edition Tony’s Black Ambition chocolate bar.
Deciding to work together with Pharrell’s Black Ambition initiative was a no-brainer. At Tony’s we believe inequalities in the US and in West Africa stem from the same colonial and post-colonial power structures. And creating fair opportunities in people’s everyday lives is one huge way to make systemic change. We see eye-to-eye with Pharrell on this.. and the Black Ambition bar is another way we are working towards righting past wrongs and shaping a better tomorrow.
Best of all, it’s just the start. We’re in it with Pharrell for the long term, so you can expect more exciting ways we’ll be supporting each other in our missions.
Digital FAIRground Tony’s digital FAIRground is still open, and for the next 10 days you can fix your FOMO with a full recording of the live event (until the 13th of December) and some best-bits aftermovies. The FAIRground itself will remain open, where our new Annual FAIR report is hot off the (digital) press. And don’t forget to sign the petition: as Akwasi reminded us, we’re all part of the chain, we’re all part of the change..