The news that slavery-free chocolate brand, Tony’s Chocolonely, has been dropped from Slave Free Chocolate’s list has been widely reported. The brand has lost its spot on the list due to its relationship with supplier, Barry Callebaut.

If you don’t know about Tony’s Chocolonely (where have you been?!), it’s a slave-free, ethical chocolate brand born from a Dutch journalist’s horror that he had been complicit in slavery by eating chocolate. The brand’s mission, packaging and communications is all centred around traceability, fair wages for the entire supply chain and ending slavery in the chocolate industry. Recently the brand made noise by launching limited editions that imitated other well-known chocolate bars to highlight the industry-wide issues.

Tony’s told The Grocer that it has never hidden its relationship with Barry Callebaut. It “contracts out a separate arm of [the] factory that has been specifically set up to accommodate full supply chain traceability since 2015.” But Slave Free Chocolate says that Tony’s benefits from price advantage through working with Barry Callebaut and that is why it took the difficult decision to remove the brand from its list.

Much of the coverage of this story to date has been largely balanced, which gives me significant hope. This brand was created to work towards a slave-free chocolate industry. Its goal is to prove that it is possible to be a big chocolate brand and have full traceability, pay a fair wage to farmers and be confident that there is no slavery anywhere in the chain.

As a consumer and a PR, I love Tony’s Chocolonely. This news presents a potential PR nightmare and it’s great to see the brand face it head on and say this is part of the process of changing the industry.

Because when it comes down to it we’re all doing our best aren’t we? I don’t always buy Tony’s, I sometimes forget to turn the light off when I leave the room and I can’t say that I always recycle absolutely everything that can be recycled 100% of the time. But I am doing my best. Just like Tony’s and just like most people.

by Megan D’Arcy, Senior Account Director – Wild Card