Tony’s Chocolonely introduces ‘Mission Lock’ legal measures enforcing ethical standards

Tony’s Chocolonely ethically-founded confectionery brand has revealed plans for its “Mission Lock’ legal structure designed to ensure its sourcing principles remain focused on delivering improved conditions for farmers in its cocoa supply chains, reports Neill Barston.

The new move has been outlined by its recently appointed CEO, Douglas Lamont, who explained the new governance structure, offering a key share in the company to a separate foundation which will be monitored by a system of ‘guardians’ to ensure its standards are maintained.

Speaking about the initiative, he explained that it is being created to ensure that the company’s founding principles are maintained in helping support communities in its core supply chains to help ensure the future viability of the sector.

Lamont said: “At Tony’s we are an impact company first and foremost, and our mission, to eliminate child labour and all illegal labour in the entire chocolate supply chain, is too important to just fade away in the future. So naturally we’ve been looking for ways to ensure that our hard work does not get undone. Not now, not in 10 years’ time, not ever. That is why, I’m extremely excited and proud to announce that we are introducing a brand new future-proofed governance structure called Tony’s Mission Lock.

“Tony’s Mission Lock is a legal structure which gives a golden share in Tony’s to a fully separate and independent entity (a foundation) – overseen by Mission Guardians. As a B Corp, Tony’s Articles of Association (the legal rules that tell the leadership team what they are legally obliged to do) already includes our mission, our 5 Sourcing Principles and our Chiefs’ legal responsibilities to uphold these. But with this golden share, Mission Guardians will be able to protect against any changes to our mission-related clauses – ensuring these elements can never be changed without their agreement. Locking in leadership’s legal responsibility to uphold Tony’s mission,” explained the CEO, who asserted that the new move would legally protect the company’s mission indefinitely.

Moreover, he offered some additional insights into how the system would operate, noting that guardians linked to the foundation would have a  right to full transparency and access to all stakeholders, and any serious concerns in relation to mission breaches can be raised with these appointed figures.  Notably, the Mission Lock programme also enables any corporate concerns to be referred for legal arbitration with the Dutch Enterprise Chamber.

The company confirmed that it has appointed its Mission Guardians, and has included  impact entrepreneur, Seth Goldman, the Founder of Honest Tea and the Chair of Beyond Meat,  Anne Wil Dijkstra, an ex-Co-Captain of Tony’s, as well as Ikenna Azuike, experienced in social and climate activism.

Lamont continued: “Our Supervisory Board, our shareholders and the entire Chiefs team have passionately worked on crafting this governance model for the last 18 months and we believe it to be a robust mechanism to protect our mission in perpetuity. I am very proud of all the shareholders, who range from our founders to more classic investors, who unanimously have supported the implementation of Tony’s Mission Lock.

“It was great to see the hugely positive reaction we got from all our employees when we shared the news internally this week. Like me, they now have the comfort of knowing that the great work that they do every day to build towards our mission will be protected forever.”  The system is set to be explored further at Tony’s Fair impact celebration on 8 June in Amsterdam.




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