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The main aim of Tony’s Chocolonely is to eradicate slavery in the cocoa industry by raising awareness and encouraging everyone to contribute to their fight for 100% slave-free chocolate. This mission includes implementing Tony’s five rules of the game for slave-free cocoa: traceable beans, a higher price, strong farmers, long term stability, improved productivity, and less dependency on cocoa.
Tony’s Chocolonely is a Dutch company that has expanded its market share internationally over the last 5 years. Currently, the brand has a presence in Europe, Asia, and America. In the Netherlands, it has its own shops where customers can fully experience the brand and its impact. In other parts of the world, distributors other than Tony’s Chocolonely are used to sell the chocolate bars. Tony’s mission is to make 100% slave-free chocolate the norm through three tenets: raising awareness, leading by example, and inspiring action.
In one simple sentence, Tony’s Chocolonely wants to eradicate work slavery in the cocoa industry by raising awareness and encouraging everyone to contribute to their fight for slavery-free chocolate.
Chocolate is a commodity consumed worldwide, and most of the cocoa for its production comes from Ghana and The Ivory Coast; therefore, it is a problem that should concern society in general, including consumers, governments, manufacturers, and organizations. Tony's Chocolonely aims to raise awareness of these inadequacies through marketing campaigns, petitions, and Tony’s Open Chain, a platform for chocolate companies to work together and have an open discussion about solving issues and implementing Tony's five sourcing principles.
Cocoallectively Abolishing Slavery
Tony’s Chocolonely was first established in 2003, sparked by an investigation into slavery in the chocolate trade by Dutch journalist Teun van de Keuken. This insight was 'spurred from two US senators in America, who identified that only seven multinational chocolate companies had all the power to control the price of cocoa.' Following further research into the trade, Teun produced 5,000 fairtrade chocolate bars in 2005.
'It was founded on a very journalistic background, which ended up becoming a chocolate company, after a series of very interesting events Teun, nearly got arrested' in his fight to share the truth about the injustices in the cocoa trade. Tony’s became an officially registered company in 2006. Since then, they have continued their fight for slave-free chocolate. This includes research into the coca trade's inadequacies, purchasing directly from ABOCFA farmers’ cooperative, establishing methods for fully traceable cocoa butter, and developing their world-famous broken bar.
Tony’s measure of success is their impact on others and improvements in farmers' working conditions in the cocoa trade. New farmgate prices for the 2020/21 season are up by 30% in The Ivory Coast at $1.79 per kg and 19% in Ghana at $1.82 per kg. Their impactful campaigns mean that more than 2.5 million farmer households will now benefit from better purchasing power and have more access to food, healthcare, and education.
Tony's aim is to spread the word about their work on a deeper level, and that is where the friends of Tony’s come in. Tony’s email newsletter provides details of developments and future plans, allowing Tony’s fans to spread the word about their products and mission. It is all about ‘making serious friends and creating as much noise as possible.’ Through building their presence in the UK and Ireland, Tony’s have been able to gain ‘tons and tons of choco fans, serious friends, anyone who's interested in our mission and our vision’ and established Tony's as’ a company that not only looks great on the shelf but also is having real, socially impactful changes. Their expansion worldwide is a clear indication that their message is being heard by many.
The impacts of Tony’s marketing campaigns and how the brand has expanded can be clearly seen in how their product has grown since its launch. Between October 2015 and September 2016, the brand sold just under 20 million bars. Two years later, this had increased to over 36 million bars. 29,576 participants attended community awareness-raising sessions in the year 2019-2020 alone, and Tony's 'Serious Friends' also tripled this year to 65,448 friends.
Tony's Chocolonely expanded the scope of all their market share and awareness to include their Gold markets. As they are now a mature company in the Netherlands, they can measure their market share in the whole chocolate category (8.2%) – not just chocolate bars (16.5%). Revenue for 2019-2020 rose from € 69.6 million to € 88.4 million, a solid 27% growth. Verlinvest and JamJar have also come on board as investors.
Tony's now employs 179 people worldwide. To support employees during the COVID-19 Pandemic, Tony's held team catch-ups and offered staff mental support by professional coaches. They established a Karma Wheel where staff received gifts to keep them going and keep the team connected while supporting local businesses. They continuously strive to make their teams more diverse and inclusive.
In the 4th year of implementing the Child Labour Monitoring and Remediation System ( CLMRS), Tony's have 32% more cocoa-growing households or 7,264 households who participate in the CLMRS. Tony's remediated four times as many cases of child labor this year than last year.
Tony's Chocolonely has developed a model for calculating the cocoa price that enables farmers to earn a living income. The Living Income Reference Price (LIRP) considers several factors based on industry-accepted standards (Living Income Community of Practice). The governments of both Ghana and the Ivory Coast have joined forces to increase the price of cocoa. This is a huge step towards positive change for cocoa farmers. Tony's has also entered into a 5-year cooperation with 2 new cooperatives in Ghana: Asetenapa and Asunafo.
Green America’s (2019) “Chocolate Scorecard’ indicates that Tony’s are going above and beyond to ensure compliance beyond certification while also providing agricultural training to make farms more climate-friendly. By investing in agricultural knowledge and providing training, Tony’s recipe for slave-free cocoa addresses key issues in the industry on a social and environmental level leading to less dependency on cocoa and improved productivity.
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Micah Douglas, Marketing
Tony's Chocolonely is a chocolate company aiming to make 100% slave-free normal in the cocoa trade through a three-pillar approach. These are raising awareness, leading by example, and inspiring others to act fairly to abolish slavery and establish fair trade for cocoa farmers. Tony's Chocolate is available globally.