By Megan Barber, Grocery Manager, Co-op Owner
If you crave an amazing, Fair Trade, chocolate bar for any occasion look no further than Tony’s Chocolonely! They are on a mission to eliminate slave labor from the supply chain starting from the farmers carefully growing cocoa, continuing through processors, and ending with you the customer. The chocolate supply chain is dominated by a few companies out to make serious profit – and there’s nothing wrong with a little profit, but not when it comes at the cost of producer and worker exploitation.
“The cocoa supply chain is shaped like an hourglass. At one end (1) there are millions of farmers who produce cocoa, in the middle (2) there are a few multinationals and at the other end (3) there are billions of consumers who enjoy chocolate. The bit in the middle, that’s where it goes wrong. Big chocolate companies want to keep the price they pay the farmers inhumanely low.” – Tony’s Chocolonely
Tony’s not only empowers farmers, but also people in their communities, which often includes children working long hours. Investing in long-term partnerships with farm cooperatives and helping them become more efficient and confident in their work can create farms that produce well and farmers able to negotiate pricing. Creating a fair playing field for farms, Tony’s takes the set minimum farm gate pricing, adds the Fair Trade pricing, and adds another portion called Tony’s Premium. This ensures the producers are receiving a living wage. In the 2019/2020 growing season the Tony’s premium was $350 per tonne of cocoa in the Ivory Coast and $335 in Ghana. The Fair Trade price was only $240. Last year, Tony’s Premium was up to $575 per 1,000 kilos of cocoa.
Good bars come from good chocolate from healthy farms. Every shipment Tony’s receives is from a partner cooperative in Africa. Those partners have steadily been able to expand their cocoa production since the very beginning.
Everyone needs to be aware and willing to create change. Change in their farming practices, change in the processing methods, change in the selection at stores, and change in shopper’s buying habits. Together we can make more impact and create a world where chocolate tastes good and feels good knowing it came from an ethical and supportive system.
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