To buy or not to buy?
Tony's is very well known for their ethical standards and their transparency. Their chocolate is divided up in random chunks because they want to highlight how unfair the chocolate business is.
From child labour to slavery, it's the cacao farmers in countries like Ghana and Ivory Coast who suffer the most, as chocolate companies barely pay them for their hard work and exploit most their workers in this area. Tony's chose to buy their chocolate from these suppliers, because they wanted to change the way the cocoa industry works in these parts of the world. They don't want to ignore the problems in West Africa, they want to solve this issue.
That's why they've been promising to end slavery in it's supply chain for years, with their Beantracker and Child Labour Monitoring and Remediation System. But now they're scrutinized because their supply chain isn't slavefree. This is partly due to their transparency, as we can track and research every single farmer and manufacturer they hire to produce and process their chocolate. We are not often given this information by chocolate businesses, especially those who aren't fairtrade/slave free/organic.
About Tony's Chocolonelys
Tony's is a Dutch brand, founded by Teun (Tony) van de Keuken, a Journalist who worked for the Dutch television programme 'Keuringsdienst van Waarde'. In this programme, journalists travel around the world to film and report on improprieties and abuse found in food chains and more, highlighting the wrongful treatment of people, animals, ingredients and products around the globe.
This is where Tony's chocolate started, because they wanted to do it right, not only withing their own production lines, but the whole world's chocolate production. This is a huge task and definitely not an easy one.
The Times wrote an article a couple of days ago on Tony's Chocolonely's, stating that they have lost their 'Slave Free Chocolate' label.
Tony's have lost this because they have signed a contract with Barry Callebaut, one of the biggest chocolate processors in the world, who is known to be using the worst forms of child labor and child slavery in their supply chain. Barry Callebaut will help Tony's to process their ethically sourced beans into a liquid, and The Times article states that it will make their chocolate manufacturing process cheaper as well as help them to scale up their business.
Tony's claims it's not making their processing cheaper, as they are paying more to ensure their cocoa beans will never be mixed with other's and stay slave free. Now, Tony's has been growing and growing since their launch in 2005, which means they have to scale up their manufacturing processes often.
They'd love to build their own chocolate factories of course, but doing so, means the prices of their bars would go up - way up. So they have to work with the big guys. Which will also help them to change the industry from within. It seems contradictory that they call out all these other chocolate brands and tell them they're doing a bad job, but then they're gonna be working with one of the worst in the industry. I agree. But they are right: you cannot change the industry on your own. You need to show other non-ethical suppliers and manufacturers how you can make profitable chocolate whilst also being fair towards your supply chain.
And with their 5 step plan, they plan to change Barry Callebaut from within and fight for their worker's rights. Tony's will also be working hard to earn their spot back on the Slave Free Chocolate label list and more.
Yesterday I shared a story and tagged them to say: I guess I won't be buying you anymore. They have replied to me immediately, sent me a link with their responses and I have gone over this thoroughly for this post.
Want to read more about why Chocolate is bad for you and the earth?
Head on over to this blog post.
Read my reviews on other sustainable chocolate brands: