The company presented a petition to Reynders this week, signed by more than 66,000 consumers to keep up the pressure and raise awareness about the crucial need for ambitious human rights and environmental due diligence legislation which, according to the company, is now at risk of being delayed and watered down because of lobbying efforts from lagging companies.
“We’re proud that more than 66,099 Choco Fans support our demand for due diligence, and we urge Commissioner Reynders to make this law become a reality now. We believe it’s high time for all companies to take 100% responsibility for their supply chains and stop hiding human rights and environmental abuses behind excuses,” said Henk Jan Beltman, Tony’s Chocolonely’s Chief Chocolate Officer.
“Voluntary programmes and sustainability initiatives are simply not enough and too many empty promises have been made by the industry in the past. We need concrete laws to protect human rights!”
The petition was delivered in a joint effort with Member of the European Parliament, Lara Wolters, who is leading the work on a new EU-wide Directive on corporate due diligence and corporate accountability.
To change a high-risk sector such as the chocolate industry, the new legislation needs to close any loopholes -- Paul Schoenmakers, Head of Impact at Tony’s Chocolonely
It demands governments to hold companies across all sectors accountable by law for human right violations in their supply chains.
Wolters said: “An ambitious due diligence legislation with a broad scope is urgently needed. While the obligations should be proportional for smaller companies, small and medium size enterprises like Tony’s Chocolonely must be covered to make an impact.
“It is key that all companies, must ensure that their entire supply chain is slave free and does not contribute to environmental degradation. Especially for high-risk sectors like cocoa. Mandatory due diligence rules would be good news for sustainable supply chains and for consumers who want to be sure that their products are made while respecting people and planet.”
As well as helping producers such as small cocoa farmers, the new law also benefits consumers as they would be able to shop for any products in the whole EU market with the certainty that the companies are doing their best to monitor, prevent, mitigate and remediate social or environmental exploitation, or else be held accountable.
As Paul Schoenmakers, Head of Impact at Tony’s Chocolonely delivered the petition and said: “To change a high-risk sector such as the chocolate industry, the new legislation needs to close any loopholes and follow the UN Guiding Principles and OECD’s Due Diligence Guidelines for multinational enterprises.
“Tony’s has put these in place through our rights-based roadmap, our 5 Sourcing Principles for fairer cocoa and our fully transparent Annual FAIR Report. This is not an impossible ask for other companies and actually proves to be a strength. We also help other companies in our sector to make the transition with Tony’s Open Chain.”
Taking the EU to task - what’s Tony’s Chocolonely wants:
It said it expects the European Commission to come up with an ambitious proposal that will finally enforce universal human rights and environmental standards, urging lawmakers to include a strict set of baseline conditions, including -
1. Big or small, all companies must be bound by the new law, and apply due diligence in their entire value chain. Especially in high-risk sectors such as cocoa.
2. An adequate standard of living is a human right, and companies’ purchasing practices should enable producers to earn a living income.
3. Companies must use a clear, understandable and publicly accessible reporting framework that includes mandatory checks on key human rights and environmental issues.
4. EU member states must take legal action when companies do not fulfil their due diligence obligations, and victims of human rights violations must be guaranteed easy access to justice and remedies in EU courts.