The two companies known for their passion for social justice and ethical chocolate have joined forces to end modern slavery and child labor in the cocoa industry.
To celebrate the new partnership, the ice cream brand and chocolate maker collaborated to develop sweet treats inspired by each other: Coming in January 2023, Ben & Jerry’s Chocolatey Love A-Fair ice cream — a new flavor based on Tony's popular milk caramel sea salt bar; and Tony's Chocolate Love A-Fair — two new Tony's bars inspired by Ben & Jerry's Strawberry Cheesecake and Chocolate Fudge Brownie ice cream flavors will showcase the companies’ combined efforts to create ethical supply chains in the notoriously exploitative cocoa industry.
Tony’s Chocolonely was founded with the mission to create a ‘100% slave free’ cocoa supply chain and educate the public on forced labor and other economic and human rights issues that persist in the cocoa industry and beyond — and it continues to make good on this mission with industry-leading sourcing standards and attention-grabbing consumer campaigns. The cocoa beans from the new, co-branded treats will be sourced through Tony's Open Chain — an open-source initiative launched by Tony’s in 2019 that shares knowledge and tools to help companies in the chocolate supply chain take steps to end modern slavery and child labor in the industry.
"We are thrilled that Ben & Jerry's joins us as a Mission Ally in Tony's Open Chain,” says Tony's Open Chain Lead Joke Aerts. “Not only will this partnership see large volumes of cocoa beans sourced via Tony's Open Chain; but collaborating with one of the world's most-loved social justice companies truly puts our initiative on the map internationally and proves that our way of working is a solution for all players in the cocoa industry. I am confident that, together, we can make big strides towards eradicating modern slavery and child labor, stopping deforestation, and improving the livelihoods of West African cocoa farmers."
Ben & Jerry's — which has long been a vocal supporter of social justice issues — already pays farmers a Fairtrade Premium for their cocoa beans through an ongoing partnership with Fairtrade, and boosts this further by paying a Living Income Reference Price. With this new partnership, Ben & Jerry’s augment its efforts by sourcing the cocoa for its entire ice cream portfolio by Tony's Open Chain’s 5 Sourcing Principles:
Transitioning to fully traceable cocoa beans.
Paying an additional premium for their cocoa beans, enabling farmers to earn a living income.
Promoting strong co-operatives to professionalize and make the work of cocoa farming safe and sustainable. Collectively, this means farmers stand strong and are empowered to change structural inequity in the value chain.
Engaging in long-term commitments giving the farmers income security and the opportunity to invest in their businesses.
Coaching farmers to improve their cocoa productivity and quality and improve their agricultural knowledge on relevant crops.
Ben & Jerry’s joins European retail giant Aldi; Dutch grocer Albert Heijn’s own-brand chocolate, Delicata; and German chocolate brand Jokolade as participating Mission Allies in Tony’s Open Chain. By adopting Tony's 5 Sourcing Principles, companies take responsibility for ensuring a fully traceable cocoa supply chain and paying a higher price to address poverty, the root cause of social injustice for cocoa farmers. As an ally of Tony's Open Chain and by beginning their conversion to buying cocoa directly from eight partner co-operatives in Côte d'Ivoire, Ben & Jerry's will not only get to know which farmers produce the beans that go into their chocolatey ice cream, but also under which social and environmental circumstances they are grown. Full traceability and transparency of the cocoa supply chain is crucial to achieve social justice for cocoa farmers — and to enable dignified livelihoods.
"We began this journey seven years ago, when we first partnered with Fairtrade co-ops in Côte d'Ivoire; and this is the exciting next step in our cocoa journey as we amplify our commitment to farmers, equity, and ethical sourcing," said Cheryl Pinto, Ben & Jerry's Global Head of Values-led Sourcing. "Tony's Open Chain enables us to combine traceability with sourcing principles that naturally align to Ben & Jerry's mission and supports cocoa farmers to meet high standards on social and environmental practices while strengthening their co-operative.
"Embracing the 5 Sourcing Principles of Tony's Open Chain means unlocking the key elements to driving strong trading relationships and thriving cocoa communities," Pinto added. "We are serious about chocolatey ice cream, and we are eager to join forces with Tony's Open Chain as a Mission Ally, on a delicious journey towards a more ethical future for cocoa production that all chocolate lovers deserve."