Tony Chocolonely: How it all started...
Tony Chocolonely has been working towards making all chocolate 100% slave free sinds 2003. They now know how difficult it is to change an entire industry. Luckily, they’ve grown enormously and got good results.
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"Teun turns himself in as a chocolate criminal"
Journalist Teun van de Keuken is shocked when in 2003, he reads a book about child slavery on cocoa farms in West Africa. He realises that slavery still exists, so he decides to study this phenomenon further.
"Teun looks for witnesses"
The judge refuses to prosecute Teun, but instead of becoming discouraged, Teun follows the advice of his lawyer and looks for witnesses: victims of the chocolate he’d eaten.
He finds four boys who had worked as slaves on a cocoa farm in Ivory Coast. They tell Teun their stories and provide him with the evidence he needs.
English translation: “I’m Kam Sami Felix. I’m 16 years old. Between 1999 and 2003, I’ve worked on a cocoa farm.” “I’m Kam Kohi Herman. I’m 18 years old. Between 1999 and 2003, I’ve worked on a cocoa farm.” “I’m Kam Togue and I’m 18 years old. I’ve worked on a cocoa farm.” “I did not get paid, and I was forced to work.” “I was forced to work. I was not allowed to leave the farm.” “I did not receive any money, and I was forced to work.” “We were not allowed to visit each other, and we could not talk with our parents. If we did, we would get hit or even killed.” “Is it finished, madam?” “Yes, it is finished.”
"The first Tony's bar becomes a reality"
Teun is awaiting the judge’s ruling and decides to take action against the atrocities of the established choco order.
The cocoa value chain
"On the way to 100% slave free"
Tony Chocolonely learns a hard lesson: Fairtrade doesn’t necessarily mean slave free.
The founding father, Teun van de Keuken, visits Ghana and discovers a Fairtrade certificate only goes so far. The cocoa beans are not always 100% slave free.
Then Bellissimo decides to take legal action. According to the Swiss chocolate brand, ‘slave free chocolate doesn’t exist’, which is why such a claim would be harmful to other chocolate makers. The judge votes in favour of Tony’s.
However, Tony Chocolonely changes ‘100% slave free’ to ‘on the way to 100% slave free chocolate’, as a lot needs to be accomplished before chocolate is really slave free
Finally, the day arrives that the court of justice gives its final decision. The outcome is quite disappointing: though Teun wins a moral victory in his case against himself as a chocolate criminal, the court won’t prosecute. If it did, it would have to prosecute everyone who eats chocolate.
Shortly afterwards, the Keuringsdienst van Waarde airs its final episode on the abuses of the chocolate industry. In the meantime, Tony’s continues its battle for 100% slave free chocolate. For instance, their family starts to expand and they collaborate with Oxfam Novib to ensure all choco friends can enjoy a fairer chocolate letter at Sinterklaas (a Dutch holiday celebrating Saint Nicholas, the patron saint for children).
The Tony’s family continues to grow with a new milk hazelnut bar from Turkey.
1. Traceable beans
All cocoa beans used by Tony’s Chocolonely are traceable. Sounds logical, right? It isn’t, it’s quite special. Most chocolate brands have no idea where their beans come from. They just buy from a trader and they don’t know the famers.
2. Strong farmers
Tony’s tries to help cooperatives where they can work together, in order to become much more stronger. Think of training and schooling, in leaderschip, governance or English.
3. Higher price
Tony’s pays farmers extra money, an extra premium for the cocoa beans. So the farmers get money, the Fairtrade premium and the Tony’s Chocolonely premium. With this money, the farmer can earn a living wage and provide for his family.
4. Better quality and productivity
Tony’s helps the farmer to get more and better quality cocoa beans. A lot of cocoa farmers produce less beans than they could, missing income. Experts will help the farmers to maximise their harvests and earnings.
5. Long term commitment
Tony’s works together with farmers for a minimum of 5 years. This allows for investments and trainings. All farmers can expect a visit from Tony’s a couple of times each year.
"Harkin Engel objectives not fully achieved"
In a decade it will become apparent whether the Harkin-Engel Protocol served its purpose.
In 2001, several major chocolate companies signed the Harkin-Engel Protocol, committing themselves to eliminating the ‘worst forms of child labor’ in the cocoa industry. Unfortunately, ten years on, none of the actions agreed to in the protocol have been fully achieved. This confirms that a lot of work needs to be done before everyone in the cocoa industry gets what they’re entitled to.
Tony’s is continuously working on their journey towards 100% slave free chocolate. The cocoa mass in the chocolate bar is fully traceable from 2013 onwards, and is manufactured by farmers that Tony’s knows.
In their first annual FAIR report, Tony Chocolonely shared their vision on the chocolate industry and elaborate further on their new step in the direction of 100% slave free chocolate. They published the FAIR report each year onwards.
To celebrate this positive turn of events, they organize Tony’s Fair for the first time ever, featuring speakers such as Teun van de Keuken and Miki Mistrati. Tony’s also throws a party with Chef’Special playing some of their cheerful tunes.
"Cocoa butter tank at Barry Callebaut"
In 2016, Tony Chocolonely installs its own cocoa butter tank at Barry Callebaut.
We’re now able to make cocoa butter fully traceable. Consequently, every cocoa bean in a Tony’s chocolate bar is traceable and has been directly purchased at one of our partner cooperatives in Ghana and Ivory coast. Aaand.. now that our cocoa butter is fully traceable, we can make white chocolate again. That is why this year saw the return of the white chocolate bar with raspberry popping candy. But how are all these different flavours created?
"Roadmap to 100% slave free chocolate"
Tony’s is continuously working on their mission of only having 100% slave free chocolate in the world.