Ethical chocolatier Tony’s Chocolonely has raised €20m (£17m) to accelerate its “mission of ending exploitation in the cocoa industry”.

The Dutch confectionery company has raised the cash from existing investors, including Belgian investment company Verlinvest and venture capital group JamJar.

The company said the fundraising follows a “successful year of rapid growth and strong progress on its mission”.

It said the cash would be used to fund its rapid growth in multiple markets and the growth of its business-to-business ethical bean sourcing company Tony’s Open Chain.

“More bars and beans sold means more beans bought at the price of a living income, so more positive impact on the lives of cocoa farmers,” it stated.

Douglas Lamont, ‘chief Chocolonely’, said: “This investment will help us accelerate our progress towards our mission of ending exploitation in the cocoa industry. The funding will be used to support the rapid global growth we are delivering in both Tony’s Chocolonely, our chocolate business, and Tony’s Open Chain.

“I am delighted that all the funding was raised from within our existing shareholder base, who we know are all committed to supporting our long-term mission. With this new investment, with our governance structure and with our recently introduced Mission Lock we will all remain fully focused and committed to delivering on our mission to end exploitation in the cocoa industry.”

As part of this round, a number of existing shareholders will sell a small percentage of their stake.

After the funding round, Verlinvest’s voting stake will rise from 50.1% to 64.2%, while it will increase its overall shareholding to a majority of 55.9% from 43.1%.

JamJar, is the investment company run by the former Innocent Drinks founders Richard Reed, Katie Marrache and Jon Wright, has grown its voting shareholding from 4.8% to 5.6%.

Genuine Chocolate, the holding company of former CEO Henk Jan Beltman, will reduce its voting stake from 31.2% to 20.6%.

The share sale will require competition authority approval in the Netherlands as a result of Belgium-based Verlinvest increasing its stake.

The company was founded in 2005 by three Dutch TV journalists after they discovered that the world’s largest chocolate manufacturers were buying cocoa from plantations that used child labour and modern slavery.

The company says it “leads by example”, building direct relationships with cocoa farmers in Ghana and Ivory Coast, paying them a higher price and working to help solve the underlying causes of modern slavery and child labour.