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How to Drive Positive Social Impact through your Supply Chain

Small but mighty, B Corp certified Dutch chocolate company Tony's Chocolonely has a unique way of driving positive social impact through its supply chain. Founded in 2005 with eradicating child and slave labor from the cocoa supply chain as its 'raison d'être', Tony Chocolonely proves that no company is too small to drive systemic change successfully.

Harvard Business Review just published an insightful article on how Tony Chocolonely created a purpose driven and profitable supply chain.

The article states that for many commodity products, including cocoa, supply chains are highly fragmented and characterized by negative social & environmental impacts. Fragmentation leads to alienation of actors: they are not interested in each other and lack control beyond their own role in the supply chain. Only firms that are able to prevent or reverse alienation, can create supply chains that produce positive social and environmental impacts. At Tony's Chocolonely they call these types of supply chains 'Resonating Supply Chains'.

The main takeaways are:

  1. Ensure supply chain actors understand what other actors in the supply chain are doing

  2. Remove anonymity by fostering relationships across and between supply chain actors

  3. Create consensus around responsible business practices and invite others to copy these practices

  4. Share data and examples with all stakeholders to maintain credibility, encourage further collaboration and foster a sense of connectedness to other actors as well as to the shared goal

  5. Collaborate with competitors, suppliers, NGOs and governments to effect systemic change and educate consumers on social and environmental issues in product supply chains.

Tony Chocolonely, now a $130M revenue company that sells its yummy bars in Europe as well as in the US, has taken all of these bold steps and more. For additional detail and how it goes about its continuous quest for further improvement, read its annual impact or FAIR reports here.

Source: Pannekoek, F., Bruegem, T., Van Wassenhove, L.N. (2023, September 11). Harvard Business Review.


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