It is over! For better or for worse, the trip has come to a close. Tomorrow, we travel back to Schiphol airport to depart for an 8 hour flight, 8 hour layover, and another 1.5 hour flight. But first, today.
Today we had the whole morning to ourselves. Admittedly, after a long night, I spent the whole morning asleep. I then went to a caffe for some caffeine and food. I have become quite fond of cappuccinos on this trip.
After brunch, we had a meeting with a representative from Tony Chocolonely. This is a chocolate company based in the Netherlands and is considered one of the most sustainable companies. We learned a lot about the supply chain of cocoa and how the typical industry practices. Better yet, we learned how and why Tony does it different. The typical cocoa farmer is paid half of the poverty line, at around seventy cents a day. This is not anything close to a living wage, which forces farmers to use child labor. Currently, 1 in 2 children of cocoa farmers are in child labor. Tony sees this, rightfully so, as a huge issue. They charge investors more and charge customers more than common brands in order to pay the farmers a livable wage. Additionally, Tony works with co-ops and a CLMRS method (Child Labor Monitoring and Remediation System) to help children get out of illegal child labor. This involves house visits, awareness meetings, and follow ups.
Overall, Tony Chocolonely has formed a open supply chain that is super transparent and aimed to be done “right”. They don’t use child labor, they pay their farmers more, and they use low-emission techniques. The company likes to say “Crazy about chocolate, serious about people”. This is because the company uses their chocolate as a way to communicate how other companies should develop their supply chains. If Tony can be successful without, for example, child labor, than other companies will be forced to recognize this and follow. That is at least the hope and the goal of this company. I found this super interesting and uplifting. It is really refreshing to see companies that aren’t focused on profit, but rather doing things in a sustainable, all-around good way.
After the presentation, we visited the super store and about some chocolate. Unfortunately, we were unable to visit the factory due to a public holiday. This holiday, Ascension, was today and had the streets packed. It was nice to see the city so busy and lively. We made our way to our final dinner of the trip after the super store. We had a delicious Indonesian meal. It was very nice to have the whole group together for one last meal before we split ways. This trip has been blast. It has been very educational, allowed me to see the world through another lens, and helped me make new friends. I am sad to say goodbye to the Netherlands, but I am excited to continue on with new life experiences. I am definitely looking to study abroad again in my future.
Until the next time, doei!