how it all began

Almost 11 years ago the Dutch investigative reporter Teun (Tony) van de Keuken launched an investigation about the use of slavery within the cocoa industry on his consumer report show Keuringsdienst van Waarde. He was literally shocked to discover that most of the chocolate on supermarket shelves was harvested by slaves—worse, by child slaves. He decided to do something about it. He first approached some of the world’s largest chocolate makers, but they completely ignored him.

So he decided to roll up his sleeves and do it himself. He ate a couple of chocolate bars and then turned himself in to the authorities as a chocolate criminal. By eating chocolate, he was complicit in slavery. But the public prosecutor wouldn’t prosecute him. Teun didn’t give up and went looking for witnesses; victims of chocolate consumption. He found 4 boys who had worked as slaves on a cocoa farm in Ivory Coast. They provided evidence against Teun and the 2,136 other chocolate consumers who in the meantime had joined Teun in his stride. On November 29th 2005, still awaiting the judge’s decision, Teun decided to lead by example and make 5,000 Fairtrade chocolate bars. Tony’s Chocolonely was born.

The very first Fair Trade Tony’s Chocolonely bars hit the supermarket shelves in 2005. In 2006 we became legit by registering with the Chamber of Commerce. We’ve been high-flying ever since, but today our number one priority remains the same as it was on day 1: eradicating slavery from the global chocolate industry.

See below for a recap of ten years of making chocolate 100% slave free:

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