Back in 2001 Dutch investigative journalist Teun van de Keuken was shocked when he discovered that much of the world’s chocolate production has a hidden association with slavery and child labour. He got angry, he got frustrated, but then he got creative.
After some semi-failed publicity stunts (involving having himself arrested as a chocolate criminal) the business he went on to found is not just a campaigning organisation — it is a better kind of chocolate company. It’s a growing purpose-driven commercial business — full of people who believe the best way to protest against something wrong is to do something right.
The company is Tony’s Chocolonely. And with a focus on humour, love and celebration it is having a real impact in an industry very much in need of change.
I’m not sure if it’s the audacious nature of the founding story, the joyful branding, the symbolism of the uneven shaped pieces in the bars, the damn fine tasty chocolate (they do a 42% cocoa bar — perfect for those torn between the milk and the dark side) or the underlying purpose and mission of the business — it’s probably a combination of all those thing — but Tony’s Chocolonely is without doubt one of the most inspiring businesses I’ve ever come across. So I’m beaming with excitement that chocolate ambassador Ynzo van Zanten will join us at Meaning 2017 in Brighton on 16 November to share the founding story of this remarkable company. He’ll offer us the inside details of how it operates fairly and equitably, how it brings joy to its customers and how it’s kicking the chocolate industry right up the behind.
Ynzo joins the international guest list of Meaning 2017 speakers who will bring bold and inspiring ideas (and evidence) about how business can be part of creating a more sustainable, humane, equitable and just world.
Purpose-washers need not apply.
Meaning is the annual gathering for people who believe business can and must be a force for positive change in our dynamic and volatile world.
At Meaning you’ll learn from the pioneers from the edges, who are driving change at the heart of business. And you’ll connect with like-minded peers who want to be part of the solution to the challenges of our time.