Ice-cream brand Ben & Jerry’s has teamed up with the Dutch chocolate maker Tony’s Chocolonely to support ethical Cocoa sourcing.  The company is known for their activist stance on ethical issues that don’t always go over well with its owners at Unilever, a British Conglomerate that bought the brand in 2000.

In 2020 Ben & Jerry’s announced that it was committed to “economic justice” for its cocoa farmers in Côte d’Ivoire when they worked with Fairtrade to ensure the amount it pays for the cocoa in its ice cream was in line with the Fairtrade Living Income Reference Price. At the time, the living income had been calculated at $2.50 (£1.87) per day for Ivorian cocoa farmers.

To mark this new initiative, the two brands will be releasing unique product flavours inspired by one another. Tony’s has taken two classic ice-cream flavours from Ben & Jerry’s and used them as inspiration for their Dark Milk Chocolate Brownie and White Chocolate Strawberry Cheesecake bars. Meanwhile, we can expect to see a brand new ice-cream flavour, dubbed Chocolate Love A-Fair, from Ben & Jerry’s – based on Tony’s milk caramel sea salt flavour.

The Cocoa used in the production of these new flavours is sourced through Tony’s Open Chain, improving supply chain transparency and helping to combat child labour and modern slavery in the industry.

Ben & Jerry’s announced that it will be reworking its ice-cream range, converting it to Tony’s Open Chain with a focus on the Cocoa used in the base mix. The ice-cream brand already supports its Cocoa farmers by paying a Fairtrade Premium, on top of an additional Living Income Reference Price. According to Fairtrade, “a Living Income Reference Price is what farmers need to be paid to be able to invest in sustainable farming practises and achieve a living income when other key parameters such as viable farm size and sustainable yields are met.”

In adapting Tony’s five Sourcing Principles, namely traceable beans, a higher price, strong farmers, long-term commitments and productivity & quality, the company is furthering its responsible sourcing efforts by ensuring a fully traceable Cocoa supply chain and addressing farmer poverty by agreeing to pay higher prices. 

The partnership will directly benefit the eight partner co-operatives in Cote d’Ivoire, where Ben & Jerry’s will begin buying their Cocoa. The company will have knowledge of which farmers produced their Cocoa, as well as the social and environmental conditions under which it was produced.

We began this journey seven years ago, when we first partnered with Fairtrade co-ops in Ivory Coast, and this is the exciting next step in our Cocoa journey as we amplify our commitment to farmers, equity, and ethical sourcing.

Tony’s Open Chain enables us to combine traceability with sourcing principles that naturally align to Ben & Jerry’s mission and supports Cocoa farmers to meet high standards on social and environmental practices while strengthening their co-operative.

Embracing the five Sourcing Principles of Tony’s Open Chain means unlocking the key elements to driving strong trading relationships and thriving Cocoa communities.

We are serious about chocolatey ice-cream, and we are eager to join forces with Tony’s Open Chain as a Mission Ally, on a delicious journey towards a more ethical future for Cocoa production that all chocolate lovers deserve!

Cheryl Pinto, Global Head of Values-led Sourcing, Ben & Jerry’s

We are thrilled that Ben & Jerry’s joins us as a Mission Ally in Tony’s Open Chain. Not only will this partnership see large volumes of Cocoa beans sourced via Tony’s Open Chain but collaborating with one of the world’s most-loved social justice companies truly puts our initiative on the map internationally and proves that our way of working is a solution for all players in the Cocoa industry. I am confident that, together, we can make big strides towards eradicating modern slavery and child labour, stopping deforestation, and improving the livelihoods of West African Cocoa farmers.

Joke Aerts, Inspire to Actress (Open Chain Lead) for Tony’s Chocolonely

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *