As a chocolate lover and a fan of ethical products, Tony’s Chocolonely is a brand you are probably familiar with. This relatively small Dutch chocolate company is known for its unique approach to fair trade practice- making 100% slave-free chocolate. Baba Me recognizes Tony’s efforts to change the world, and we are proud to include Tony’s Chocolonely chocolate flavors among our collection of ethical gifts.
The Story Behind the Name
Like everything else about Tony’s Chocolonely, the name- Tony’s Chocolonely, tells a story. It all started in 2002 when the company’s founder, Dutch Journalist Teun van de Keuken, realized that none of the chocolate manufacturers in the Harkin-Engel Protocol were holding up their end of the bargain. This meant that that modern-day slavery and child labour were still being used as a means to cultivate 60% of the world’s cocoa in West Africa.
Teun van de Keuken decided to take action in a rather dramatic fashion. He had himself arrested and taken to court as a chocolate criminal (supporting child slavery by eating chocolate). He even had witnesses from west Africa testify against him, but the case was later dismissed.He had also made an effort to contact large chocolate makers to get them to change their production habits. Nonetheless, they ignored him; none of them showed any interest in changing their production philosophy. This refusal by the big chocolate manufacturer and the dismissal of his case against himself prompted him to start manufacturing his chocolate brand – Tony’s Chocolonely.
And he did. He made a milk chocolate bar entirely made from slave-free cocoa and named his newly founded company Tony’s Chocolonely. Tony roughly translates to Teun in Dutch- his first. Since Teun felt he was the only one in the industry that cared to eradicate slavery and forced labour from the industry, he named his product “Chocolonely.” No one in the existing chocolate industry tried to help him, and he had to do it all alone.
No Longer Alone
Tony’s Chocolonely founder may have left the company, but Tony’s Chocolonely gets closer to Teun van de Keuken’s vision with each passing day. More and more people and co-operations are joining this noble cause. Today, Tony’s Chocolonely is no longer alone in pushing for a 100% slave-free chocolate industry.
Tony’s Chocolonely has entered into strategic partnerships with Albert Heijn and Barry Callebaut to end modern slavery and child labor. Albert Heijn is the biggest Dutch retailer, while Barry Callebaut is the world’s largest chocolate manufacturer. Together, the three companies are strategically putting pressure on the wider chocolate industry to work towards a fairer cocoa chain. Tony’s Chocolonely is trying to change how the chocolate industry operates.
Tony’s Chocolonely has also developed a platform, Tony’s Open Chain, that invites and supports other chocolate companies to drive social change in their cocoa supply change. The company has shared complete details of its supply chain on the platform and included tools like the Child Labour Monitoring and Remediation System and Tony’s Beantracker.
Join the Cause
Every bar of Tony’s Chocolonely that you buy helps push toward a 100% slave-free chocolate industry. Join the cause and help eliminate forced labour and child labour in the cocoa-producing countries of West Africa.
Next Up: What is Slave-Free Chocolate?