Tony’s Chocolonely, the Dutch ethical chocolate brand on a mission 'to make chocolate 100% slave free', has announced it has smashed the €100m revenue mark, partly due to a successful UK launch in 2019 and support from chocolate fans throughout the world who have backed the brand's impact-driven business model.
Ten years ago, the company barely netted €1m in turnover but demand for its premium, 100% sustainable Belgian chocolate has soared in recent years with Tony’s global business growing by 24%. In this financial year, the company reported net revenues rose from €88.4m to €109.6m. Gross margin also exceeded target and increased from 42.4% to 46.2%.
As an impact company that makes chocolate, and not the other way around, we consider money as a means and never the end. We put our money where our mouth is and that means our starting point is spending money on the change we want to see in the sector -- Tony's Chocolonely
Although the company focuses on human rights more than profit, it said in its annual financial statement that it had made a loss of -4.3%, mainly due to the acquisition of the Belgian choco-moulding Althea de Laet factory in 2021 and what it describes as a few other exceptional one-off costs.
These include the development of its own chocolate factory and visitor centre, Tony’s Chocolonely Chocolate Circus, which it now has decided not to continue. Instead, the company plans to reinvest the capital requirements of this site into growing global brand and issue awareness, driving team expansion with more local expertise in the markets, and most importantly, creating impact on the ground with cocoa farmers.
Without the one-off expenses and depreciations, the company said the chocolate business remains profitable and would have made a net profit of at least 1% this year.
"As an impact company that makes chocolate, and not the other way around, we consider money as a means and never the end. We put our money where our mouth is and that means our starting point is spending money on the change we want to see in the sector," it said in its report.
Jan Huij, Chief Financial Officer said: “In the coming year, we are doubling down on driving brand and issue awareness globally as well as accelerating growth in our international markets – ultimately creating more impact on the ground in West Africa. Due to the pivot in strategy, we have decided not to continue the build of Tony’s Chocolonely Chocolate Circus. We believe it’s the right decision to help take our growth and impact to the next level to achieve our mission."
Through Tony's rapid, international growth it has helped raise global awareness on the issue of illegal child labour and modern slavery in the cocoa sector.
“For us, reaching these milestones is not only proof that we are heading in the right direction, but confirmation that we’ve entered a new era of Tony's Chocolonely, taking our mission to the next level on the global stage,” said Henk Jan Beltman, Chief Chocolate Officer (CEO) at Tony's Chocolonely.
Reporting on the latest financial year, the company saw a record amount of cocoa beans (an increase of over 87%) sourced via Tony's Open Chain – the industry-led initiative that enables other brands to make chocolate using Tony's 5 Sourcing Principles (traceable beans; a higher price for cocoa; strong farmers; long-term commitments; productivity & quality). Mission allies Albert Heijn, ALDI, Jokolade and Vly Foods collectively increased the beans sourced via Tony's Open Chain by more than 237%. This means that 22% of chocolate bars in the Netherlands (based on revenue share) are made according to Tony's 5 Sourcing Principles.
67% increase in remediated child labor cases
Using the Child Labour Monitoring and Remediation System (CLMRS), Tony's remediated 366 cases of child labour in its supply chain in the past year – an increase of 67% compared to last year.
Tony’s ambition remains to eradicate child labour and modern slavery completely – not just its chocolate, but all chocolate worldwide, it reaffirmed.
With Tony's growth in sales, it now works with more cocoa cooperatives each year. Consequently, with every new cooperative, new cases of illegal child labour are identified. In two of the new co-ops, it found 1,701 cases of child labour, which Tony’s is now working on remediating.
Paul Schoenmakers, Head of Impact at Tony's Chocolonely, says: "Finding cases is the only way to resolve them. We take responsibility and remediate every child labour case we find, rather than look the other way. Change is a process, and the stark difference in rates of prevalence shows that we’re on the right track."