BURLINGTON, VT. – Ben & Jerry's announced it is teaming up with Tony's Chocolonely, joining the chocolate maker’s mission to end modern slavery and child labor in the cocoa industry.
While the two companies will release collaborative products, Ben & Jerry's also shared its plans to convert its ice cream portfolio to be a part of Tony’s open chain, prioritizing the cocoa in its ice cream base mix.
Ben & Jerry’s will now commit to Tony’s sourcing principles. The Vermont-based ice cream maker previously took measures to pay farmers a fair trade premium for cocoa beans, via a partnership with Fairtrade. Ben & Jerry’s also pays a living income reference price.
The five sourcing principles established by Tony’s are:
• Transitioning to fully traceable cocoa beans.
• Paying an additional premium for cocoa beans, enabling farmers to earn a living income.
• Promoting strong cooperatives to professionalize and make the work of cocoa farming safe and sustainable. Collectively, this means farmers stand strong and are empowered to change structural inequity in the value chain.
• Engaging in long-term commitments, giving farmers income security and the opportunity to invest in their businesses.
• Coaching farmers to improve their cocoa productivity and quality and improve their agricultural knowledge on relevant crops.
Per Tony’s, its sourcing principles create a traceable cocoa supply chain and address poverty, often a root cause of social injustice on cocoa farms. Ben & Jerry’s will begin buying cocoa directly from eight partner cooperatives in Côte d'Ivoire, in West Africa.
Cheryl Pinto, global head of values-led sourcing at Ben & Jerry's, said by following Tony’s five sourcing principles the company can create strong trading relationships and help cocoa communities thrive.
"We began this journey seven years ago, when we first partnered with Fairtrade co-ops in Côte d'Ivoire, and this is the exciting next step in our cocoa journey, as we amplify our commitment to farmers, equity and ethical sourcing," Pinto said. "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 cooperative."
Joke Aerts, lead of Tony's open chain, said the company is thrilled to have Ben & Jerry's joining its mission.
“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,” Aerts said. “I am confident that, together, we can make big strides towards eradicating modern slavery and child labor, stopping deforestation and improving the livelihoods of West African cocoa farmers."
As part of the new collaboration, each company will debut in early 2023 a new product inspired by its partner. Ben & Jerry’s will roll out Chocolatey Love A-Fair ice cream, which includes chocolate ice cream, with salted caramel swirls and chunks. Tony's Chocolate Love A-Fair will come in two flavors – will be a dark milk chocolate with brownie bar, while the other will be made in the style of a white chocolate strawberry cheesecake.