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What really goes into your chocolate bar?

Tony’s Chocolonely is trying to take on big chocolate — but it’s not easy.

When it comes to your favorite chocolate bar, milk, sugar, and cocoa are just the ingredients you see on the label. But far more goes into its production than meets the eye.

True Price is an organization that tracks the cost of negative social and environmental factors in an effort to make the global economy more sustainable.

Its first client is Tony’s Chocolonely, a Dutch chocolate brand looking to buck trends like slavery and child labor that plague the $130B+ global chocolate industry, per Forbes.

Tony’s Chocolonely…

… was founded in 2003 by Teun van de Keuken, a Dutch journalist who started the company to prove it’s possible to produce chocolate ethically.

He also did some crazy sh*t to make his brand stand out, like:

  • Making 6.35-oz bars, 4x the size of a standard Hershey’s bar
  • Dividing the bars unevenly to highlight injustice in the industry
  • Packaging the bars in bright colors that instantly attract attention

It seems to be working — Tony’s has expanded to 20 markets and cracks $100m+ in annual revenue.

But building an ethical empire is tough

Over 60% of cocoa runs through West Africa, where the government fixes prices, leaving farmers in poverty. The situation forces farmers to use child labor and slavery, with 1.5m+ children working illegally in the region.

  • Tony’s says it hasn’t encountered slavery in its supply chain, but has found instances of child labor.

P.S. If you’re interested in tracing the environmental impact of your own shopping cart, there’s a database for that.

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