Tony’s Chocolonely teams up with Son of a Tailor in a call for a better industry
The campaign shines a light on the makers behind the products.
21 Feb 2022

In 2003, journalist Teun van de Keuken and an investigating team revealed the extent of the chocolate industry’s human rights abuses, including modern slavery and child labour to the world. The situation, according to Tony’s Chocolonely’s Nordic manager John Sjöblom, remains challenging.

— Cocoa farmers are still in poverty and little is being done on a bigger scale to solve this. There are still more than 1.5 million children in child labour. We’re fighting for the rights of the cocoa farmers in the chocolate industry, but we can only change the industry together — that means companies need to step up their game and change their ways of sourcing cocoa, he says. 

To highlight this issue in a slightly unconventional way, the company has joined forces with Danish fashiontech company Son of a Tailor.

— We created a campaign to shine a light on the makers behind the products, and this time, thank them with a delicious Son of a Tailor X Tony’s Chocolonely bar. We did it to drive awareness of the importance of taking care of these people, inspire our like-minded audiences, and show that sustainable choices are fun. We ended up reaching over 135.000 people, hopefully inspiring them to think about the maker behind the product next time they buy something, Sjöblom tells.

 — We have a shared goal to take supply chains that are opaque and frankly, old fashioned, into the future. How can you enjoy chocolate if you know it might be the product of inhumane conditions? Similarly, the fashion industry is constantly lambasted for being unsustainable, but few companies are attempting to address the source of unsustainability: the supply chain. Our supply chain is fully traceable. We don’t just know the address of our production centres, we know all our garment workers by name. In fact, all our products come signed by the garment team. So we thought it would be fun to flip the dynamic and send Tony’s chocolates to our team, this time signed to their names, says Michelle Wiles, head of brand at Son of a Tailor.

John Sjöblom, what needs to be done to further improve the situation?

— First of all, people need to know that there is an actual problem in the industry. Therefore, we work to raise awareness of the problem, because for change to happen, everyone’s gotta be aware of current problems, possible solutions, and the role we each play. Cocoa farmers, chocolate companies, governments, retailers, and consumers are what we call the Key Players in the chocolate industry. We believe that the 5 of us have the strength and power to effectively change things for good. We need people to be aware of the inequality wrapped up in some of their sweet treats. And we want farmers who grow cocoa to be aware of the rights of children that need protecting. When consumers and retailers ask questions and demand fair chocolate, companies are pressured to take responsibility. I’d say that we aim to lead by example is by being commercially successful while maintaining traceability, paying a higher price, investing in long-term partnerships and GPS mapping, and achieving carbon neutrality, says Sjöblom.

How do you visualize the chocolate industry in, say, five years from now?

— Ideally, we — all together — have solved the main issues in cocoa. A living income, no child labour and no deforestation can be achieved if we all work together and put people before profit. We need an implementation of efforts as the result of the already undergoing slow mindset shift. We will keep fighting for our vision in the upcoming years and we hope that we will have even more mission allies onboard to help us reach our mission, Sjöblom concludes.