Waitrose supermarket joins Tony’s Chocolonely's sustainability scheme

By Anthony Myers

- Last updated on GMT

Waitrose has become a Tony's Chocolonely 'Mission Ally' Pic: Waitrose
Waitrose has become a Tony's Chocolonely 'Mission Ally' Pic: Waitrose

Related tags Tony's Chocolonely Cocoa Sustainability Chocolate Waitrose

Dutch sustainable chocolate brand Tony’s Chocolonely has announced Waitrose has become a ‘Mission Ally’ and the first UK-owned retailer to join its unique sustainability supply chain.

Tony’s Open Chain is an industry-led initiative that helps chocolate brands or companies that sell products containing cocoa transform their cocoa supply chains and become sustainability frontrunners.

Nine Waitrose own-brand chocolate bars, including Cooks’ Ingredients bars, will be sourced through Tony’s Open Chain. The full range will be available across the UK and recognisable by the yellow Tony’s Open Chain ‘button on the front of the pack.

High-end supermarket

Waitrose is a successful high-end supermarket chain selling premium products at premium prices. By joining Tony’s Open Chain, the company commits to Tony’s 5 Sourcing Principles, including rigorous sourcing standards, robust traceability, paying the living income reference price for cocoa, and building long-term partnerships with partner cooperatives to support farmers and developing thriving cocoa communities.

Mission Allies compete on chocolate as a collaborative initiative but collaborate on cocoa.

Charlotte Di Cello, Waitrose's commercial director, said: “We’re proud to be the first UK retailer to join Tony’s Chocolonely in their mission to end cocoa exploitation, but we definitely hope we aren’t the last. 

“Joining as a Mission Ally is crucial to helping set a new industry standard, in a world where sustainability is no longer optional but essential, we want to not just meet but exceed our customers' expectations for responsibly and ethically sourced, high-quality food across the UK and international supply chains.”

What’s more, all cocoa in Waitrose's own brand lines not sourced via Tony’s Open Chain is becoming Rainforest Alliance or Fairtrade certified, offering customers cocoa products that bring direct economic and environmental benefits to producers and their communities.

German-owned Aldi supermarket, which has a significant presence in the UK, has been a mission partner of Tony's Chocolonely since 2021.

Fairtrade or Rainforest Alliance certified

Working closely with committed suppliers and our commercial teams, 72% of the cocoa Waitrose sourced for own-brand products in 2023 was either Fairtrade or Rainforest Alliance certified, the supermarket chain said in a statement.

waitrose choc
Pic: Waitrose

Cocoa sourced according to Tony’s 5 Sourcing Principles is proven to be 100% verified deforestation-free, reduce child labour from 46.7% (industry average) to 4.4%, and contribute 62% to cocoa household income in Côte d’Ivoire.

The Dutch company claimed 17,740 farmers benefit from living-income cocoa prices thanks to Tony’s Open Chain, 20% more than last year.

Sanne Van Zon-Arts, Head of Sales, Tony’s Open Chain, said: “We are thrilled to welcome Waitrose as a new mission ally in Tony’s Open Chain. Being the first UK retailer to join us, Waitrose will pave the way for changing the norm in cocoa and offering consumers more opportunities to choose responsible chocolate for which farmers are paid the living income reference price. Together, we will make a significant impact and take serious steps to end exploitation in cocoa.”

Waitrose follows existing Mission Allies, including global brands such as Ben & Jerry’s and Albert Heijn and fast-growing UK brands such as Huel and Please.

  • Article updated: Aldi has been a partner since 2021.

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