Tony’s Chocolonely sends petition to EU Justice Commissioner on cocoa supply chain due diligence

Brussels, 17/06/2021: Tony's Chocolonely And Lara Wolters Deliver 66,099 Signatories To Didier Reynders, EU Commissioner For Justice. Foto: Olivier Matthys

Dozens of thousands of consumers have added their name to a key petition from premium ethical chocolate company Tony’s Chocolonely, calling on the EU Commissioner for Justice to deliver due diligence in cocoa supply chains, writes Neill Barston.

The bid by the Dutch firm, backed by the fellow national Lara Wolters, representing the country as a Member of the European Parliament, demands that action be taken to deliver greater impact on the ground for key producing nations including Ghana and Ivory Coast.

Significantly, the petition to Commissioner Didier Reynders, signed by 66,099, emerges in the wake of plans approving German national legislation surrounding due diligence in supply chains, which it is hoped will form the basis for EU-wide law.

The move (pictured main image, with head of impact Paul Schoenmakers, who was recently interviewed by Confectionery Production), sought to further highlight the situation in key West African cocoa markets, where farmers are typically earning less than $1 a day, and there are a total of 1.5 million children exposed to child labour, despite the ongoing efforts of governments and industry to address the issue.

“We’re proud that more than 66,099 Choco Fans support our demand for due diligence, and we urge Commissioner Reynders to make this law become a reality now. We believe it’s high time for all companies to take 100% responsibility for their supply chains and stop hiding human rights and environmental abuses behind excuses,” says Henk Jan Beltman, Chief Chocolate Officer.

“Voluntary programs and sustainability initiatives are simply not enough and too many empty promises have been made by the industry in the past. We need concrete laws to protect human rights!”The petition, delivered on June 17, demands governments to hold companies across all sectors accountable by law for human right violations in their supply chains. It was presented to Commissioner Reynders in a joint effort with Member of the European Parliament Lara Wolters, who is leading the work on a new EU-wide Directive on corporate due diligence and corporate accountability.

Lara Wolters explains, “An ambitious due diligence legislation with a broad scope is urgently needed. While the obligations should be proportional for smaller companies, small and medium size enterprises like Tony’s Chocolonely must be covered to make an impact. It is key that all companies, must ensure that their entire supply chain is slave free and does not contribute to environmental degradation. Especially for high-risk sectors like cocoa. Mandatory due diligence rules would be good news for sustainable supply chains and for consumers who want to be sure that their products are made while respecting people and planet.”

As well as benefitting producers such as small cocoa farmers, the new law promises an advantage for consumers as well. They would be able to shop for any products in the whole EU market with the certainty that the companies are doing their best to monitor, prevent, mitigate and remediate social or environmental exploitation, or else be held accountable.

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