Tony’s Chocolonely is launching Sweet Solution chocolate bars to raise awareness that illegal child labor is still pervasive throughout the chocolate industry.
The Sweet Solution bars, which may at first look familiar, are different. These nougat pyramids, wafer strips, nutty crunch circles and caramel cookie strips are Tony’s Chocolonely — from their bold wrappers to their chunky tablet format. The four one-off “look-alike” chocolate bars aim to demonstrate how fairer chocolate — regardless of shape or flavor — can be made and enjoyed.
All Sweet Solution kits are currently on pre-order in the U.S. They will begin shipping Feb. 5.
The bars are made following Tony’s 5 Sourcing Principles: using 100 percent traceable cocoa beans, paying a higher price, supporting strong farmers, engaging in long-term partnerships, and focusing on quality and productivity.
“Tony’s 5 Sourcing Principles are designed to create a fairer cocoa supply chain and address the root cause of modern slavery and illegal child labor: poverty,” said Paul Schoenmakers, head of impact at Tony’s Chocolonely. “But it’s not enough if these principles are only followed by us. So, we’ve also developed Tony’s Open Chain, an open-source initiative available to all chocolate makers, so they can do the same and that together we can make all chocolate slave-free.”
Tony’s says the Sweet Solution bars were created to raise awareness and inspire everyone in the chocolate chain to act. All profits from the bars will be donated to 100WEEKS, an independent platform that uses direct cash transfers and financial training to assist women in escaping the cycle of extreme poverty.
Recent reports indicate UK retailer Sainsbury's initially carried the Sweet Solution bars but later pulled them following alleged pressure from other chocolate makers. Sainsbury's carries other Tony's Chocolonely offerings, but as of Wednesday, the retailer's website did not offer the Sweet Solution bars.
In response to a fan, Tony's Chocolonely's UK and Ireland account tweeted the following: "Sainsbury's are huge supporters of our mission. There was a lot of pressure from big chocolate and this certainly won't stop us from campaigning for 100% slave free!"
With other chocolate makers and partners, Tony’s has been campaigning for legislation to make companies responsible for human rights violations in their supply chains since 2017. Most recently, the chocolate company urged Supreme Court Justices to rule in favor of corporate responsibility in a case about child-slavery in the cocoa industry in December.
With momentum building in the EU, a new administration in the U.S., and with the UN designating 2021 as the International Year for the Elimination of Child Labour, the message is clear. The time to act is now. To be part of the sweet solution and call upon governments to act this year, join Tony’s efforts here: https://tonyschocolonely.com/petition
“Time’s up,” Schoenmakers says. “Fifteen years after we launched our first chocolate bar, not enough has changed. With these bars, we aren’t pointing a finger. We’re raising our voice, again, to raise awareness, and start a movement for necessary positive change. We’re not assigning blame; we’re calling on everyone to take responsibility. If we want 100 percent slave free to be the norm in chocolate, we need legislation, and we need everyone to play their part. From choco fans to choco makers to retailers, to governments, and to cocoa farmers, too. We are all part of the problem and we can all be part of the sweet solution.”