The company, which was founded by two Dutch journalists with a mission to ‘make 100% slave free the norm in chocolate’, said the campaign will take the form of multiple executions across banners, six sheets, rail and fly posters in Manchester, Bristol, and London with the aim of “raising consumer awareness that there is illegal child labour and modern slavery in the chocolate industry”.
Since its launch in 2005, the Dutch brand has had a global ‘no paid media policy’, focussing on earned and owned media to have a more direct and personal conversation with consumers.
It has only made exceptions when it has deemed it to be essential in raising awareness of the issue of modern slavery in the chocolate industry.
For example, in 2017 Tony’s Chocolonely took out a full page newspaper advert in The Netherlands to lobby for the Dutch Child Labour Due Diligence Act which was subsequently passed in 2019.
It is launching its advertising in the campaign as it’s 20 years since the leaders of eight big chocolate companies pledged to eradicate the worst forms of illegal labour in their supply chains, - the company claims: “still nothing has changed”.
A report by NORC, published in October 2020, estimates that 1.56 million children still currently work illegally on cocoa farms in Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire where 60% of the world’s cocoa comes from.
The Global Slavery Index from 2018 also confirms that there are a minimum of 30,000 victims of modern slavery on cocoa farms there. The root cause of both illegal child labour and modern slavery is poverty, as campaigners say cocoa farmers are paid too little for their cocoa.
Tony’s Chocolonely’s UK Marketing Manager Nicola Matthews said: “It’s time for us to break our own rules and go above the line to raise awareness on a significant scale. Big chocolate companies have pledged for two decades to eradicate these labour abuses, but no significant progress has been made. Time’s up! We want more people to realise that by joining together and pushing for a fairer industry they can be agents of change.
“At Tony’s, our mission is to make all chocolate 100% free of modern slavery and illegal child labour. We believe this should be the norm throughout the industry, but we cannot achieve it by staying silent. The goal of this campaign is to use our marketing power to raise consumer consciousness of the issue and show chocolate lovers that together we can change the industry for the better, one bar at a time.”