This week, we’ve covered a lot of information about Environmental and Sustainability issues, referencing the EU’s proposed legislation and the lobbying from certain chocolate companies (e.g., Cargill).
As we are going to press (ok we’re a digital platform, but it represents an 11th-hour metaphor) Tony’s Chocolonely publishes an open letter, and it’s too good to miss. We’re publishing the full press release below because it doesn’t need any explanation from us.
The press release can be found here.
Open Letter From Tony’s Chocolonely
Hey, remember our petition to make 100% slave free chocolate the law? Then you probably remember how excited we were when the EU took one step closer with the Lara Wolters report – and Parliament voted YES to making companies accountable for human rights and environmental abuses in their supply chains. In fact, we’re still jumping up and down.. only this time it’s to get our due diligence demands heard as the Commission gets ready to propose new EU legislation for corporate due diligence.
Exciting! But, eh.. due dilly whatteh?
Corporate accountability and human rights due diligence is quite a mouthful. But it’s essentially just a formal way of saying that businesses must be responsible for checking and resolving any social and environmental injustices that happen during the sourcing and manufacturing of their products. In the chocolate industry, that would mean taking 100% responsibility for tackling things like illegal child labor, modern slavery and deforestation. Which is why – together with more than 65,000 Choco Fans who signed our petition – we fully backed the report calling for this to be made law. The EU Commission is now drafting a proposal that will oblige companies that operate in the European market to screen their entire supply chain for abuses – and take measures to prevent or solve them.
What’s Tony’s take on the new EU legislation?
Of course, we can’t lay down the law ourselves – but we have put down on paper the things we believe that law should include to guarantee businesses adhere to human rights standards. We shared our formal wish list with the powers that be; here, we spell it out in simple human speak:
1. Size doesn’t matter
Big or small, all companies must be bound by law. Especially in high-risk sectors such as cocoa.
2. A basic standard of living is a human right
Human rights violations must include more than illegal child labor and modern slavery. The way companies purchase should enable farmers to earn a living income.
3. Accountability demands transparency
All companies must use a clear, understandable and publicly accessible reporting framework that includes mandatory checks on key human rights and environmental issues.
4. Justice must be served
All EU member states must take legal action when companies do not fulfil their due diligence obligations. And victims of human rights violations must be guaranteed easy access to justice in EU courts, and remedies when harm has been caused.
How is Tony’s getting ready for the new law?
Getting ready? We got set and go’d years ago! You know us, we like to lead by example and show that if we can do it, every choco maker can. And the proof is in the choco pudding: setting up policies and practices that reflect the 6 Steps in Due Diligence, which are based on the United Nations Guiding Principles. Like our 5 Sourcing Principles knowing for example where every single one of our beans comes from, and the conditions under which they are farmed, because 100% traceability is an enabler for 100% responsibility. And having a child labor monitoring and remediation systems (CLMRS) in place so we can raise awareness of children’s rights and resolve any issues if they crop up.
What will the new law mean for Choco Fans?
So glad you asked! If the new due diligence law goes our way, all choco makers would be accountable for putting systems in place to monitor and remediate human rights violations in their supply chains – as well as paying a price for cocoa that enables farmers to earn a living income. And that would mean you should be able to pick up any bar of chocolate in an EU supermarket (not just from Tony’s or our Open Chain mission allies) and enjoy it without worrying it might be hiding a bitter truth. In fact, this would be true for all products we consume.
Only together we’ll make 100% slave free the norm!