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Walking the Talk
‘The Value of Values’:
Lessons from Tony’s Chocolonely

The story of impact-driven chocolate maker Tony’s Chocolonely has important lessons for sustainability practitioners — which makes its story even sweeter.

If you missed this LinkedIn post (or the full article) by Sustainable Brands®, you’ll want to check them out. The story of impact-driven chocolate maker Tony’s Chocolonely has important lessons for sustainability practitioners:

  • How values help attract customers and create business success

  • How to scale your positive impact on the world, even beyond what your own business can support


In Chapter 4 of my book, The Value of Values (MIT Press, 2024), I talk about how standing out helps customers find you. Tony's mission — to end exploitation in cocoa production and deliver 100% slave-free chocolate — makes it stand out. It stands out to conscientious consumers; to Tony’s “collegiate changemakers” — student movement-makers who network within their communities to share Tony’s chocolate and raise awareness about issues within the cocoa industry; and even to industry giants such as Barry Callebaut — which formed a strategic partnership with Tony’s to show that producing chocolate from fully traceable, ethically sourced, sustainable cocoa is possible at scale (a collaboration highlighted in the Netflix documentary, “Rotten”).


The role of art in climate, sustainability and regeneration discourse

Benjamin Von Wong’s activist artistry transcends mere visual appeal — underlining the essential role of art in climate, sustainability and regeneration discourse. Join us as he explores the incredible potential of art as cultural commentary in raising awareness, and taking our shared behavioral and cultural pursuits to the next level — Wed, May 8, at Brand-Led Culture Change.

In Chapter 7, I tell the story of a company I worked with to take something it was doing for itself — helping and offer it to others, scaling its impact and creating a new revenue source. Tony's is doing that, too, through Tony’s Open Chain — an industry-led initiative that’s helping other chocolate brands transform their supply chains through transparency.

As Open Chain enables other companies to take advantage of its supply chain, it helps Tony's help even more farmers — those supplying its own production and those supplying other companies, as well. And the co-op fee paid by companies using Tony’s Open Chain covers program costs and improvement at the partner level.


Tony’s continues to make progress toward its mission: It’s paying living incomes to more farmers while increasing its revenue (to over $150 million) and helping improve cocoa supply chains — all while providing important lessons you can use to increase your company’s impact. That makes its story even sweeter.