Tony’s Chocolonely, the chocolate producer striving for 100% slave-free chocolate, says it pays more for cocoa from Africa than any other producer. But is that claim true?
“We are far from perfect yet, but nobody in the market pays more for a kilo of cocoa than we do,” said Henk Jan Beltman of the “ethical chocolatier” Tony’s Chocolonely this week in a comment to the annual figures. Belinda Torres Leclercq of Oxfam Belgium responds that this statement is not entirely correct.
“How much a company pays a farmer per kilo of cocoa is receiving more and more attention, and that is a very favourable development. Companies that commit themselves to a living income for farmers are also expected to pay ‘livable prices’. That price should enable the average farmer (with an average size of plantation, achievable productivity, average spending, …) to lead a dignified life,” she says.
Recent research has calculated how much such a viable price should be: for Côte d’Ivoire it amounts to 3,166 dollar per ton and for Ghana to 3,116 dollar per ton. In practice, not a single buyer comes close to those amounts. Tony’s Chocolonely pays 1,960 dollar in Côte d’Ivoire and 1,860 dollar in Ghana. That is indeed more than the large chocolate companies, but Oxfam Fair Trade pays even more: 2,668 dollar per ton in Côte d’Ivoire. There is a comment to be made however: Tony’s Chocolonely sources around 10,000 ton a year, Oxfam Fair Trade only 70 ton a year.
In a reaction, Tony’s Chocolonely says that it pays 2 200 dollar per ton of cocoa in Côte d’Ivoire and 2 100 dollar in Ghana. Those prices include a fair trade premium and an additional premium. This is the so-called Living Income Reference Price, which the producer set together with Fairtrade on the basis of independent research. On top of this price, the company pays a coop fee of 50 dollars per ton.
In addition, Tony’s Chocolonely invests in productivity to enable farmers to earn a higher income, and the company enters into long-term relationships with cooperatives so that farmers can be assured of a higher income for a longer period of time. Tony’s also donates 1% of its turnover to the Chocolonely Foundation for community projects such as building schools and wells. All in all, this amounts to over 2 million euros last year or over 400 dollars per ton of cocoa.
Tony’s Chocolonely purchased 5537 tons of cocoa last year. 9900 tons is the target this year.