Tony’s Chocolonely extends mission partners and revenues

The latest Tony’s Chocolonely FAIR report has revealed a 20% increase in the number of farmers it reaches, with its cocoa farming for its ethically-founded chocolate production now as standing at 17,000, within its core markets including West Africa, writes Neill Barston.

According to the Dutch headquartered business, its annual study shows a key record rise in yearly revenues (up 23%  year-on-year, to $150 million, as a total of six new enterprises have joined its Mission Allies initiative, targeting socially and ethical sourcing of ingredients and product ranges.

The business is due to be part of our World Confectionery Conference once again on 12 September 2024, as the show makes its return to Brussels, Belgium, covering the full value chain of the industry.

On the company’s progress, Douglas Lamont, Chief Chocolonely, said: “As an impact-led company that wants to drive change across the whole industry, we must prove that ending exploitation of West African farming families can come in parallel with good returns for shareholders, impactful careers for employees and care for our planet. Our results this year demonstrate yet again that partnering with others in the cocoa supply chain and balancing the needs of all our stakeholders is both the right thing and the smart thing to do, to build a successful impact company over the long term”

In 2022-23, the premiums paid upped the cocoa income earned by farmers supplying to Tony’s Open Chain in Côte d’Ivoire by 51%. This is a direct result of both Tony’s and its Mission Allies (other brands sourcing cocoa via Tony’s Open Chain) paying the Living Income Reference Price, which is higher than the national farmgate price and the Fairtrade price – enabling farmers to reach a living income. Maintaining the LIRP regardless of national cocoa prices, could be a potential game changer for farmers if adopted industry wide. Currently 17,740 farmers benefit from living income cocoa prices thanks to Tony’s Open Chain, 20% more than last year.

Furthermore, partner co-operatives within Tony’s Open Chain showed a significantly lower prevalence of child labor at 10.5% versus the industry average of 46.7%. Encouragingly, Tony’s long-term partner co-ops (3+ years) have an even lower rate of 4.4%, demonstrating the ability to effectively reduce child labor if Tony’s 5 Sourcing Principles are successfully applied.

Detailed satellite mapping and deforestation reviews have confirmed that Tony’s supply chain is deforestation free, resulting in 87% lower emissions in Ghana and 95% lower emissions in Côte d’Ivoire than most other cocoa sold in the same region. To go further, the company signed up to the maximum scope 1&2 science-based emission reduction target (42% by 2030 for SMEs).

Tony’s Open Chain also welcomed six new Mission Allies, with the recent joining of HEMA and Jumbo marking the participation of most major Dutch grocery groups – resulting in a bigger share of 100% traceable cocoa that enables a living income on retailer shelves.

As the company noted, as it expands, a new impact promise “together, we’ll end exploitation in cocoa” to bring to life the wider scope of work involved in Tony’s 5 Sourcing Principles. Building on Tony’s original “slave-free” mission, the evolved statement targets all interconnected forms of exploitation in the cocoa supply chain, like ensuring a living income and combatting rampant deforestation, whilst acting as a rallying cry to build an industry-wide change coalition.

A record absolute net revenue growth of +€28m (+23%) took annual net revenue to €150.2m. Key growth contributors included a successful launch into the chocolate snacking market with Tony’s Lil’ Bits and particularly strong revenue growth in the UK, the USA and Germany. As Tony’s continues to invest ahead of the curve (reflected in an EBIT of -€2.7m) to bolster its growth momentum across multiple markets, Tony’s strengthened its balance sheet through a €20m investment from existing shareholders in June 2023.

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