Ben & Jerry’s joins Tony’s Chocolonely’s open chain ethical sourcing, releasing key new ranges
Major ice-cream brand Ben & Jerry’s has joined Tony’s Chocolonely’s quest to tackle child labour in supply chains, celebrating the partnership with freshly inspired products being unveiled by both companies, writes Neill Barston.
The two companies have been strong advocates of social justice within the wider industry, and their latest partnership stemmed from these shared core values of supporting those farmers at the heart of the sector.
For its part, Ben and Jerry’s released a new flavour, Chocolatey Love A-Fair, based on Tony’s key milk caramel sea salt bar, while Tony’s is set to unleash two new varieties of its bars, taking inspiration from Ben & Jerry’s Strawberry Cheesecake and Chocolate Fudge Brownie ice cream flavours.
The joint product venture was described by Tony’s offering consumers ‘love at first bite,’ with the company set to join our World Confectionery Conference in Brussels on September 9 in Brussels. Catch our exclusive with chief of operations and impact, Pascal Baltussen, who will be offering further insights into its work as part of our key industry gathering in Belgium in just a few weeks’ time.
As the firms explained, the cocoa beans from these brand-new chocolatey treats are sourced through Tony’s Open Chain, which helps companies take steps to end modern slavery and child labour in the chocolate industry.
Significantly, Ben & Jerry’s confirmed that it will start will converting its ice cream portfolio to Tony’s Open Chain, prioritising the cocoa in the ice cream base mix. By adopting Tony’s five Sourcing Principles, companies take responsibility for ensuring a fully traceable cocoa supply chain and paying a higher price to address poverty, the root cause of social injustice for cocoa farmers.
Ben & Jerry’s already pays farmers a Fairtrade Premium for their cocoa beans through an ongoing partnership with Fairtrade, and boosts this further by paying a Living Income Reference Price. As part of Tony’s Open Chain, Ben & Jerry’s will now also commit to Tony’s 5 Sourcing Principles which means, among other things, also paying a fee to further support the partner co-operatives in Ivory Coast.
As a Mission Ally of Tony’s Open Chain and by beginning their conversion to buying cocoa directly from eight partner co-operatives in Côte d’Ivoire, Ben & Jerry’s will not only get to know which farmers produce the beans that go into their chocolatey ice cream, but also under which social and environmental circumstances. Full traceability and transparency of the cocoa supply chain is crucial to provide social justice for cocoa farmers – and to enable dignified livelihoods.
“We began this journey seven years ago, when we first partnered with Fairtrade co-ops in Ivory Coast, and this is the exciting next step in our cocoa journey as we amplify our commitment to farmers, equity, and ethical sourcing,” said Cheryl Pinto, Ben & Jerry’s Global Head of Values-led Sourcing. “Tony’s Open Chain enables us to combine traceability with sourcing principles that naturally align to Ben & Jerry’s mission and supports cocoa farmers to meet high standards on social and environmental practices while strengthening their co-operative.”
“Embracing the five Sourcing Principles of Tony’s Open Chain means unlocking the key elements to driving strong trading relationships and thriving cocoa communities,” Cheryl said. “We are serious about chocolatey ice cream, and we are eager to join forces with Tony’s Open Chain as a Mission Ally, on a delicious journey towards a more ethical future for cocoa production that all chocolate lovers deserve!”
Joke Aerts, Inspire to Actress (Tony’s Open Chain Lead) for Tony’s Chocolonely, said, “We are thrilled that Ben & Jerry’s joins us as a Mission Ally in Tony’s Open Chain. Not only will this partnership see large volumes of cocoa beans sourced via Tony’s Open Chain but collaborating with one of the world’s most-loved social justice companies truly puts our initiative on the map internationally and proves that our way of working is a solution for all players in the cocoa industry. I am confident that, together, we can make big strides towards eradicating modern slavery and child labour, stopping deforestation, and improving the livelihoods of West African cocoa farmers.”