At Tony’s Chocolonely we are crazy about chocolate and serious about people. We produce the most delicious chocolate that can make anyone happy: You, your neighbor, your aunt, but most happy is the farmer who supplies our cacao. We find that everyone in the chocolate world must receive that to which they are entitled. That doesn’t just mean the people behind the production of our own chocolate bars: We want the whole chocolate world, piece by piece, to become a better place.
The very first Tony’s Chocolonely bar appeared in 2005. A couple of years earlier Dutch television journalist Teun van de Keuken began an investigation into slavery within the chocolate world. What did his investigation reveal? Not only did he discover the use of slavery on cacao plantations, but he also discovered evidence of child slavery, including abuse and forced labor, where some children were forced to work up to 16 hours per day - per day! - with only 8 hours to eat and rest before another day of harvesting, picking and cutting. Don’t think that by the end of the month they get rewarded with a fat paycheck for all their hard work…
We are all aware that purchasing products produced via criminal methods is a criminal offence. Similarly, Teun van de Keuken determined that as a chocolate eater, he was an accomplice to a crime – slavery - and therefore he presses charges… Against himself. A District Attorney (in Amsterdam) determined that Teun could not be charged, but this was not the end for Teun: He is determined to do something about the awful deeds of the chocolate establishment. He approaches chocolate giant Nestle, at that time the main sponsor of the new Charlie and the Chocolate Factory film, to determine whether they would be willing and able to produce a slave-free chocolate bar. When Nestle refused, Teun decided do the right thing himself. On November 29, 2005 Teun (Tony) releases the first slave-free chocolate bar to the Dutch marketplace. He produces 5,000 chocolate bars, but it is not enough. The demand is huge: The demand for the first Tony’s bars surpassed 15,000.
From that moment, Tony’s Chocolonely, the chocolate brand that works toward a 100% slave-free cacao-chain, became fact. In the years that have since followed, Tony’s ensures chocolate fans cannot ignore the unfairness in the chocolate world. Since then, too, many other chocolate makers / brands have given themselves their own “kick in the butt”, for instance by changing over to Fairtrade-certified cacao. A good step in the right direction, but still much more must happen before dishonest chocolate can no longer be found on supermarket shelves. At Tony’s we work daily toward 100% slave-free chocolate, and you can help, too. You can make a difference by making the switch to honest chocolate, and by telling your friends what is happening in West Africa. Every bit helps. Tastefully we can go together toward 100% slave-free chocolate!