Chilling Moments

Half Mag / Half Zine

Dutch chocolate brand Tony’s Chocolonely was removed from a list of slave-free chocolate producers due to its collaboration with Belgian multinational Barry Callebaut, Tony’s confirmed in a statement on their website.

The American organization Slave Free Chocolate has kept a list of companies that produce chocolate with no form of slavery at its African suppliers since 2007. Tony’s Chocolonely has been on that list for years.

The Dutch brand was removed due to its collaboration with Barry Callebaut. The Belgian multinational previously admitted that it cannot rule out that child labor and modern slavery are present in its production chain. According to newspaper The Times, the company is also mentioned in a lawsuit about “large companies that have knowingly benefited from child labor” in West Africa.

Tony’s Chocolonely regrets its removal from the list, but said that it consciously chose to work with Barry Callebaut to help change the chocolate sector. “In 2005, we deliberately chose to partner with Barry Callebaut to show that it is possible to be fully traceable while working with a major processor,” the company said. By working with a multinational, Tony’s can disprove large chocolate companies’ argument that its principles are not applicable on a large scale.

Barry Callebaut produces Tony’s Chocolonely chocolate separately from its own chocolate and the Dutch company traces all routes used for its chocolate. “Last year we found 387 cases of illegal child labor and were able to remedy 221 of them directly. We have never encountered a case of modern slavery in our value chain. Most chocolate companies don’t know how many cases of illegal labor there are in their cocoa value chain and therefore cannot do anything about it.”

Tony’s Chocolonely is the largest chocolate brand in the Netherlands. Last year it was named the most sustainable Dutch brand for the third time. The company plans to open its own factory, but those plans had to be postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.