Tony’s Chocolonely commits to paying Living Income Reference Price

Chocolate brand Tony’s Chocolonely has committed to raising the price it pays for cocoa to reach the Living Income Reference Price introduced by Fairtrade.

From October 1st 2019, Fairtrade will raise its Minimum Price – which acts as a safety net for farmers – by 20% for conventional cocoa, and even more for organic. At the same time, the Fairtrade Premium will also rise by 20%, as a first step to move the industry towards the Living Income Reference Price.

The Fairtrade Living Income Reference Price is based on what farmers need to earn for a decent standard of living, taking into account variables such as viable farm size, sustainable yields, production costs and potential savings from growing food for home consumption on the farm. After a revision of the preliminary reference values, they have now been updated to US$2.20 per kilo of cocoa at the farm gate for Côte d’Ivoire and US$2.10 for Ghana.

Both Fairtrade and Tony’s Chocolonely say payment of the reference price is the direct responsibility the cocoa industry can and should take. The organisations challenge chocolate companies to start paying the Living Income Reference Price to farmers. 

“Every company that is serious about solving the problems in the cocoa industry, should pay the Living Income Reference Price. Without decent payment human rights violations and environmental degradation will persist. Without decent payment farmers will never be able to make the necessary investments for good farming practices and sustained livelihoods,” said Peter d’Angremond CEO of Fairtrade Netherlands.

Henk Jan Beltman, chief chocolate officer of Netherlands-based Tony’s Chocolonely explained it’s about paying a price that enables the farmer’s family to earn a living income. “It’s our responsibility as a company to pay a decent price. We must tackle the inequality in the industry to end modern slavery and illegal child labour. These issues are directly related to cocoa traders, manufacturers and brands that refuse to pay a higher price.”

Since 2013, Tony’s Chocolonely has paid a higher price, on top of the Fairtrade premium, to enable farmers to earn a living income. Together they are urging all chocolate companies to start using the Living Income Reference Price as their new benchmark.

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