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Chocolate with a purpose: Tony’s Chocolonely and ethically sustainable practices
Published on June 30, 2021 11 min
Other Talks in the Series: The Purpose Economy
The Hero Trap: how great brands win by putting people in charge
- Mr. Thomas Kolster
- Director at Goodvertising Agency, Denmark
Hello, my name is Ynzo van Zanten, and I'm the Choco Evangelist of (I would say) a formerly small Dutch chocolate company, called Tony's Chocolonely. I'm going to tell you today about how we do things as a company, about what we do as a company, but mostly why we even came to be as a company. We are working towards making chocolate 100 percent slave-free.
The story of cocoa. Cocoa grows around the equator. There's a little bit of cocoa that grows in Asia, there's a little bit of cocoa that comes from South America (where originally all cocoa comes from), but the majority of all cocoa nowadays is grown on millions of small farms in Western Africa. These are one/two/three, a maximum four-hectare sized family-run businesses, millions of those. On the other side of the value chain, there are billions of consumers, who would just like to be able to eat a full bar of chocolate every day of their life, without having to experience any sense of guilt. In the middle of that value chain, there's only a handful of companies that actually produce chocolate from cocoa. I would say not much more than a dozen companies produce about 80/90 or 95 percent, of all the chocolate in the whole wide world, and it is in their interest that the price of cocoa remains low. In our opinion that price is inhumanly low. How does that look?
Of a bar of chocolate that's sold (on average) in the Netherlands for €2.80, not much more than 15 or 16 cents actually goes to the farmer that grows the cocoa in that chocolate bar. That means that the average or typical cocoa farmer in Ivory Coast and his family members live off about €0.74 available income per person, per day, which is way below the poverty level in Ivory Coast, stated at around €2 per person, per day. It's way lower than that, that is just plain wrong. That value chain is not equally divided. How does that look?