Dutch investigative journalist Teun van de Keuken was shocked when he discovered that much of the world’s chocolate production has a hidden association with slavery and child labour. He got angry, he got frustrated, but then he got creative.
After some publicity stunts (involving having himself arrested as a ‘chocolate criminal’ for being complicit in slavery, and finding four boys who had worked as slaves on a cocoa farm in Ivory Coast to provide evidence), he founded a better kind of chocolate company. It’s a growing purpose-driven commercial business , full of people who believe the best way to protest against something wrong is to do something right. It’s not just a campaigning organisation.
The company is Tony’s Chocolonely. And with a focus on humour, love and celebration this Willy Wonka is having a real impact in an industry very much in need of change. They have partnered with trading companies in Ghana and Ivory Coast to buy cocoa beans directly from the farmers. The very first Fair Trade bars hit the supermarket shelves in 2005 and their number one priority remains eradicating slavery from the global chocolate industry.
With an audacious founding story, joyful branding and symbolic uneven shaped pieces, slave-free Tony’s Chocolonely’s is inspiring – and damn tasty.
This is the story of their road to slave-free chocolate:
AtlasAction: Help make chocolate 100% slave free.
Tony’s Chocolonely was mapped by Louise Ash in her AtlasChart: 5 projects with Meaning. Chocolate ambassador Ynzo van Zanten will explain more about the phenomenon of Tony’s Chocolonely and how it’s playing an important part in changing an industry that needs to find its positive place in the world at Meaning Conference 2017.
Accidental ethical business geek Louise Ash is the organiser of Meaning conference – a way of sharing stories about what happens when business is brave enough to think differently.
Teun van de Keuken, Founder