Tony’s Chocolonely has launched four limited edition ‘look-alike’ chocolate bars to raise awareness of the fact that 20 years after the chocolate industry promised to eradicate illegal child labour, it is still widely prevalent. Tony’s is calling on all chocolate fans to be part of the ‘Sweet Solution’ and sign its petition to support the need for human rights legislation that holds companies legally accountable for modern slavery and illegal child labour in their supply chains.
The bars, which have a link to the petition on the inside of the wrapper, will be exclusively available on brownthomas.com, in Fresh Dublin stores and from Fresh online as well as other global retailers. They were also planned to be available from UK supermarkets but, after one day in stores, some big chocolate makers put pressure on Tony’s retailers to remove them because they didn’t want to be associated with the claims of illegal labour in the chocolate industry.
Tony’s Chocolonely offers a ‘Sweet Solution’ to chocolate’s bitter truth: the chocolate industry has failed to address millions of shocking human rights violations in Ghana and Ivory Coast, but it is possible to make delicious chocolate without exploiting those at the start of the supply chain.
The history of the problem
- In 2001 the world’s biggest chocolate companies supported the Harkin–Engel Protocol, committing to eradicate illegal child labour and modern slavery from the chocolate supply chain. Since then, not much has changed.
- Today, over 1.56 million children and at least 30,000 victims of modern slavery are forced to work on cocoa plantations, as evidenced in the US-government sponsored NORC report published in October 2020.
- Voluntary measures have failed, and self-regulation is clearly not enough. Companies are not legally obliged to do their due diligence to trace violations of human rights in their supply chains, let alone solve them.
Paul Schoenmakers, Head of Impact at Tony’s Chocolonely, says, “Fifteen years after we launched our first chocolate bar to call on the industry, not enough has changed. With these bars, we aren’t pointing a finger, we’re calling on the whole chocolate industry, all brands, to take responsibility and to collaborate to make 100% slave-free the norm in chocolate. We are all part of the problem and we can all be part of the sweet solution.”
Tony’s Chocolonely is on a mission to make 100% slave-free the norm in chocolate, changing the industry from within by raising awareness of the issue, leading by example and inspiring key industry stakeholders to act. The Sweet Solution bars do all three in one go by demonstrating how fair chocolate — regardless of shape or flavour — can be made and enjoyed guiltlessly.
The bars are inspired by the world’s most iconic chocolate brands that together represent the face of a big chocolate industry. However, they’re in fact very different: from their boldly branded wrappers to their chunky tablet format, they are unmistakably Tony’s Chocolonely.
The bars are made following Tony’s 5 Sourcing Principles: using 100% traceable cocoa beans, paying a higher price, strengthening farmer cooperatives, engaging in long-term direct trading partnerships, and focusing on cocoa quality and productivity to optimise cocoa yields.
“Tony’s 5 Sourcing Principles are designed to create a fairer cocoa supply chain and address the root cause of modern slavery and illegal child labour: poverty,” explains Schoenmakers. “But it’s not enough if these principles are only implemented by us. So, we’ve developed Tony’s Open Chain, an open source initiative available to all chocolate makers so they can do the same and that together we can make all chocolate slave-free.”
Together with other chocolate makers and partners, Tony’s has been campaigning for legislation to make companies responsible for human rights violations in their supply chains since 2017. With momentum building in the EU, a new administration in the US, and with the UN designating 2021 as the International Year for the Elimination of Child Labour, the time to act is now. But only together can we make 100% slave free the norm in chocolate.
To be part of the sweet solution and call on governments to act this year, sign Tony’s petition here: https://tonyschocolonely.com/petition
Tony’s Sweet Solution bars were created solely to raise issue-awareness and inspire everyone in the chocolate chain to act. All profits from the bars will be donated to 100WEEKS, an independent platform that uses direct cash transfers and financial training to assist women in escaping the cycle of extreme poverty.