Waitrose announces new cocoa sourcing partnership with Tony’s Open Chain

Waitrose has partnered with Tony’s Chocolonely to source nine own brand chocolate bars, including Cooks’ ingredients bars, through Tony’s Open Chain, in turn becoming a ‘Mission Ally’ to support more sustainable cocoa sourcing throughout the industry. 

Waitrose is the first UK retailer to join Tony’s Open Chain as a ‘Mission Ally’, following global brands such as Ben & Jerry’s and Albert Heijn, as well as fast growing UK brands such as Huel and Pleese. The full range will be available across all UK stores from Monday 8th April and recognisable by the yellow Tony’s Open Chain ‘button’ on the front of pack. 

By joining Tony’s Open Chain, Waitrose commits to its 5 Sourcing Principles, including rigorous sourcing standards such as robust traceability, paying the living income reference price for cocoa and building long term partnerships with partner cooperatives to support farmers and develop thriving cocoa communities. As a collaborative initiative, Mission Allies compete on chocolate but collaborate on cocoa. 

Charlotte Di Cello, Commercial Director at Waitrose said:

“We’re proud to be the first UK retailer to join Tony’s Chocolonely in their mission to end exploitation in cocoa, but we definitely hope we aren’t the last.  

“Joining as a Mission Ally is crucial to helping set a new industry standard, in a world where sustainability is no longer optional but essential, we want to not just meet but exceed our customers’ expectations for responsibly and ethically sourced, high-quality food across the UK and international supply chains.”

With the same favourite recipes and flavours, customers will be able to enjoy their much-loved chocolate and Cook’s ingredients products which will have sourced cocoa through the Open Chain model. All Tony’s Open Chain cocoa is Fairtrade certified, and as part of Waitrose’s ambition to reduce the living income gap for cocoa farmers, Waitrose has paid an additional premium on top of the Fairtrade certified bean price to reach the Living Income Reference Price. 

Cocoa Farmer and President of the Board
Cocoa farmer and President of the Board, Fatou Mibo Coulibaly, ESCOPAG cooperative (within Tony’s Open Chain), Côte d’Ivoire

Cocoa sourced according to Tony’s 5 Sourcing Principles is proven to be verified deforestation free, reduce child labour from 46.7% (industry average) to 4.4% and to contribute 62% to cocoa household income in Côte d’Ivoire*. 

Sanne Van Zon-Arts, Head of Sales, Tony’s Open Chain said:

“We are thrilled to welcome Waitrose as a new mission ally in Tony’s Open Chain. Being the first UK retailer to join us, Waitrose will pave the way for changing the norm in cocoa and offering consumers more opportunities to choose responsible chocolate for which farmers are paid the living income reference price. Together we will make significant impact and take serious steps to end exploitation in cocoa.”

Tony’s has long fought for the chocolate industry to drive structural change towards a more equally divided cocoa chain. That’s why the companies involved in Tony’s Open Chain take responsibility for a traceable supply chain, where issues are always brought out in the open so they can be solved; direct and equal business relations throughout the entire chain; and paying a higher price which makes a living income achievable for farmers. Waitrose has long believed in creating better livelihoods for workers and their families, stronger communities and sustainable supply chains for Waitrose and supplier partners. Since 2005, The Waitrose Foundation, the responsible sourcing programme in our fresh produce supply chains has invested over £19 million into more than 1,700 community projects in nine countries.

All cocoa in Waitrose own brand lines, that is not sourced via Tony’s Open Chain, is becoming Rainforest Alliance or Fairtrade certified, offering customers cocoa products that bring direct economic and environmental benefits to producers and their communities. Working closely with committed suppliers and our commercial teams, 72% of the cocoa Waitrose sourced for own-brand products in 2023 was either Fairtrade or Rainforest Alliance certified.

Find out more about Tony’s Open Chain https://www.tonysopenchain.com/ 

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