Tony’s Chocolonely set for UK tour raising awareness of cocoa sector inequality

Cocoa farming in Ghana

B-corp Fairtrade certified chocolate brand Tony’s Chocolonely has unveiled a new campaign known as Choose Agents, touring four UK cities highlighting inequalities within the cocoa sector, writes Neill Barston.

The Netherlands-headquartered business will call on Manchester Spinningfields (21-22 August), Cardiff, St David’s Place (28-29 August), Edinburgh’s Castle Street (4-5 September), and Bristol, Cabot Circus on 18-19 September, as well as plans to reach Dublin once coronavirus restrictions are lifted.

Its teams will be visiting the key locations for the first time, taking the form of a newsagents with a Tony’s twist, visitors will be able to sample Tony’s chocolate bars and learn about the realities of sourcing within the cocoa industry.

Tony’s Choose Agents will highlight its five sourcing principles for ensuring slave-free cocoa – 100% traceable cocoa beans, paying a higher price, strengthening farmer cooperatives, engaging in long-term direct trading partnerships, and focusing on cocoa quality and productivity to optimise cocoa yields.

The brand, which was founded on its drive to create a ‘slave free’ chocolate industry has continued to campaign for improvement of conditions in key sourcing markets in Ghana and Ivory Coast, which studies from NORC at the University of Chicago have revealed still have a total of 1.56 million children exposed to child labour – with the covid crisis believed to have further impacted on the situation.

Furthermore, the impact brand also raised its ongoing concerns over Global Slavery Index research that indicated there are at least 30,000 cases of modern slavery across the two West African nations which account for two thirds of global cocoa trade.

The company has a longstanding sourcing relationship with major chocolate business Barry Callebaut, which has committed to removing child labour from its supply chains through its Forever Chocolate programme. Tony’s has asserted that it wished to engage with the biggest players in the industry to influence sector-wide change, and subsequently pays a higher premium for segregated cocoa beans that deliver an additional price for farmers in a bid to address the major underlying issue of poverty impacting on child labour (see our exclusive video with Tony’s here).

Tony’s UKI Head of Marketing, Nicola Matthews, says: ‘Tony’s has dedicated its efforts to raising awareness of and eliminating inequality in the chocolate industry since 2005. We have shown the world that chocolate can be made differently but as much as we try to face it head on with our 5 Sourcing Principles, we really can’t do this alone. That’s why we’re launching Choose Agents to show people across the UK that something as simple as choosing a chocolate bar really can make a difference. The power to change the industry is in consumers’ hands.”



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