The way of working in Tony’s Open Chain consists of 5 Sourcing Principles. Every principle has its own tools.

To change an industry’s working methods, you first have to take a closer look at the way of working. Through the past years, Tony's has worked on and drawn up five rules for the chocolate industry and governments: the five sourcing principles of Tony's Open Chain. They need to be implemented all five, otherwise you are cheating and the system doesn’t change. Nonetheless, it is not plug and play. Through implementing the Sourcing Principles in the past years, Tony's learned a lot and keeps improving and adjusting the system where needed.

Traceable Bean

Traceable Beans

Don’t buy from the huge heap, but trade directly and on equal footing with cocoa farmers and farming cooperatives: traceability of cocoa beans from known partner cooperatives and known farmers. Make sure you not only have a clear understanding of who produces the beans, so not only the operational bean to bar, but also under which social circumstances. Including the social data on illegal- & child labor (through CLMRS). For Tony’s Open Chain it's crucial there is a link between the beans sourced, the conditions under which they're sourced and the bars sold. Only then you can actually feel responsible and take action.

Reis Ghana van 23 tot 27 januari 2017
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  • Tony’s Beantracker, the digital traceability platform for bean traceability. Through Tony’s Beantracker it is known what volume of beans is being shipped and what is already being processed in Belgium. Also, in the Beantracker it is known which farmers supplied what percentage of each shipping container of beans.
  • CLMRS, a tool by International Cocoa Initiative (ICI), for traceability on social data on illegal - & child labour. ICI and Nestlé developed this system, that addresses the issue of child labor in cocoa production and helps improve the living conditions of the farmers. Tony’s implemented the Child Labor Monitoring and Remediation System (CLMRS) at partner cooperatives in Ghana and Ivory Coast. The CLMRS monitors the children of the farmers that supply cocoa. Besides raising awareness of the consequences of child labor in cocoa communities, social data is gartered to ascertain whether, where and why child labor is being used. In this way, it’s possible to take action and to find permanent solutions.
  • GPS mapping of all plantations supplying Tony’s
Reis Ghana van 23 tot 27 januari 2017

A higher price

Pay an additional premium  on top of the – certified – bean price that enables farmers to earn a living income and run their farm. That’s not actually possible with the current certification premium. So, it’s necessary to pay an additional premium to ensure that the market price offers a living income.



Strong farmers

Buy from and co-develop professional cooperatives as service providers for serious farmers. Work together to professionalize farming cooperatives and farms, giving them more power to structurally change inequality.


  • Invest in direct contact, time and money by assisting in finding new, international markets, organise transport, stimulate mutual buying of agricultural resources and democratic AGM’s.
  • Invest in organizational capacity and professional farmer groups
Reis Ghana van 23 tot 27 januari 2017
Reis Ghana, van 23 tot 27 januari 2017

The long term

Engage in 5-year commitments with cooperatives to facilitate investments.It’s really important to work together on an equal footing and to do this for a significant amount of time to convince people that things really can be improved. Ensure that the farmers and cooperatives get at least five years’ sales at a higher price, giving them income security and enabling them to make better choices with regard to investments and recouping costs.

Commitment by signing five-year cooperation agreements (MOU's a.k.a. “Memorandum of Understanding”), after 1 year of trial runs, and annual plans. 


Productivity & Quality

In a world where combatting child labor is seriously complicated, it’s more important than ever that farmers collaborate with each other and that they develop their farms. Strong cooperatives have many benefits for the farmers. To name a few: helping farmers to find international markets, organizing transport, providing training and buying farming equipment together.  So, it's important to invest in agricultural knowledge and skills related to growing cocoa and other crops. Undertake productivity, diversification and quality programs to improve the yield (without increasing illegal labor).


  • Farm development plans and diversification
  • Farmer coaching groups
  • Agricultural service delivery by coops for professional farming (>800 kg per hectare)
Reis Ghana, van 23 tot 27 januari 2017