Tony’s Chocolonely finds 1,700 CHILD workers in its supply chain as an ethical chocolate maker whose motto is “let’s make 100% slave-free chocolate”, says its policies on illegal labor practices are working
- Tony’s Chocolonely found 1,701 child laborers involved in its production last year
- The chocolate brand openly criticizes the exploitation and slavery of children
- “Findings of child labor in the supply chain means change is afoot”
- 70% of cocoa is produced in West Africa, where logging is common
Chocolate brand Tony’s Chocolonely has revealed that some 1,701 child laborers helped make its sweets last year, despite its aim to help eradicate exploitation in chocolate production.
The chocolate maker investigated its supply chain and found a sharp increase in child labor in 2021 compared to the previous year, when 387 underage workers were discovered.
Child labor is increasingly recognized as a problem in West African countries such as Ghana and Ivory Coast, where 70% of the world’s chocolate comes from. The people concerned are often subjected to dangerous and degrading work while being deprived of education.
It comes a month after Tony released three new bars in association with Waitrose, emblazoned with the words ‘injustice’, ‘inequality’ and ‘inhumane’.
The number of child laborers linked to Tony’s was identified in the company’s annual “fair report”, according to the Times.
Young people sort cocoa beans at a cocoa exporter in Abidjan on the southern Atlantic coast of Ivory Coast in 2019
Tony’s Chocolonely has built a public reputation as a chocolate company that fights injustice in the chocolate trade
The “inequality” bar is made of milk chocolate, caramel, almonds, nougat, pretzels and fleur de sel. ‘Inhuman’ is a vegan dark chocolate bar with lemon caramel and cocoa biscuit. Third is ‘Injustice’ – a white chocolate bar with raspberry cookie chips
The report from the fair said: “While we have never found any instances of modern slavery in our supply chain, we do find instances of child labor.
“But before your alarm bells go off, know this: finding cases of child labor in the supply chain means change is afoot. We want to find children doing illegal work. Only then can we work with the families to resolve the issues.
Tony’s cocoa beans are sourced from Ghana and the Ivory Coast and then processed into liquid chocolate by Swiss company Barry Callebaut – a major global chocolate manufacturer – using a separate production line to help supply chocolate.
Ayn Riggs, founder of Slave Free Chocolate (SFC), said Tony’s was “completely dependent” on her relationship with Barry Callebaut. Last year, Tony’s was removed from SFC’s list of ethical businesses, which includes rivals such as Montezuma’s and Divine.
Paul Schoenmakers, Head of Impact at Toney’s, said: “We pay more to ensure our fully traceable cocoa beans are segregated from those of Barry Callebaut. This full visibility means we can say that we have never found a case of modern slavery in our supply chain.
A Barry Callebaut spokesperson said: “We strongly condemn forced labour, slavery and all practices that exploit both adults and children or expose them to harmful or dangerous conditions. Barry Callebaut is committed to eradicating child labor from its supply chain by 2025.’