On 30 November 2015, TDP had the pleasure to invite the current CEO of Tony’s Chocolonely: Henk Jan Beltman.
The mission of Tony Chocolonely is a 100% slave-free chocolate industry. Dutch TV journalist Teun van de Keuken raised the alarm about conditions on West African cocoa plantations after discovering child slaves working there. He tried to contact all major chocolate companies, but no one would talk to him. Van de Keuken decided to take responsibility and create his own slave-free chocolate company. The first Tony’s Chocolonely bar came onto the market in November 2005: milk chocolate in an alarming red wrapper, as things were seriously awry in the chocolate industry.
The company is a great example of social entrepreneurship. As the “chief chocolate officer”, Henk Jan Beltman took the company to the “next level”, winning an award for the best Amsterdam Entrepreneurship and the best Employee in the Netherlands in 2014. However, Henk Jan Beltman talked not only about brand marketing and the chocolate itself, but also about the pressing problem of child slavery and how choices of rational consumers can help.
The meeting was captivating and yes, there was free chocolate!