Earlier this year, we witnessed the influence our collective power has over corporations when Hershey’s finally made the commitment to have 100% ethically sourced cocoa by 2020. At the start of this year, the company announced that 18% of all the cocoa the company sourced globally in 2013 was certified, nearly double the company’s original 2013 goal of 10 percent.

While progress has been made with a big chocolate company, we continue to keep up the pressure by demanding other companies follow suit, and this time we we are focusing our energy on another cocoa offender: Ghirardelli Chocolate Company.

Ghirardelli Chocolate Company is the second oldest chocolate company in the United States and has a longstanding presence in San Francisco, California — where Global Exchange is based. Ghirardelli claims to make premium chocolate by carefully selecting cocoa beans of the highest quality, but real quality should not come at the cost of environmental destruction, poverty, and bitter child labor.

Since we launched our campaign late last year urging the company to label its chocolate as certified Fair Trade, over 700 letters have reached the desks of Ghirardelli and over 10,000 of you have raised your voices asking for a Fair Trade label.

All these efforts have prompted responses from the chocolate company, and executives from Ghirardelli have even agreed to meet with us next week for a sit down meeting. (Ghirardelli response #1, Global Exchange response, Ghirardelli response #2)

Ghirardelli is clearly hearing your call, so we are asking you to add a personal message to share with the executives.

They have made it clear that they have no intention of converting to Fair Trade, which only fuels our enthusiasm for this campaign.

Despite this response, we will keep on trying. We were successful with Hershey’s and believe that with consistent pressure, and your help, we can get Ghirardelli to put a Fair Trade label on it!


Post written with the assistance of Global Exchange summer Fair Trade intern, Nadia Garcia.

hersheysLast month, Hershey’s announced its next step toward 100% certified sustainable cocoa by committing to source cocoa through three of the world’s most recognized cocoa certifying organizations, including Fair Trade USA.

Global Exchange was excited to hear this announcement and praised activists like you for making a big corporation give in to the demands of the consumer to have a more sustainable product and have greater supply chain accountability.

Was calling this announcement a victory premature or even misleading?

To answer this question we must first unpack the meaning behind Hershey’s decision and the road that has led to it.

The push for Fair Trade

In 2006, Global Exchange joined a coalition of organizations to target the American chocolate icon Hershey’s to ‘Raise the Bar’ and go Fair Trade. The thought was: if this industry giant could start sourcing Fair Trade certified cocoa, other large chocolate companies would follow.

hershey report coverThrough the Raise the Bar, Hershey coalition, we collected countless petition signatures, held film screening showing the Dark Side of Chocolate, made thousands of Fair Trade s’mores, released Hershey’s true corporate social responsibility report, carried out a vibrant brand-jamming effortwent to the company’s shareholder meeting in Hershey, Pennsylvania and staged a huge rally in front of the Hershey store in Times Square.

Fair Trade activists sustained this effort for seven years! You sent those letters to Hershey’s, you showed Dark Side of Chocolate in your communities, you served up Fair Trade s’mores, you submitted your brand jams, and you gathered in front of the Hershey’s store with the same message: It’s time to go Fair Trade.

Year after year, we waited for Hershey’s to make a change. And year after year, Hershey’s continued to fail on making any sort of Fair Trade commitment.

Then, in January of 2012 Hershey’s made a surprising turn: the company stated it would commit to buying Rainforest Alliance cocoa for its Bliss and Dagoba chocolate products. The Raise the Bar, Hershey coalition cautiously congratulated the company for taking its first step towards sustainably harvested cocoa and the elimination of child labor.

The campaign continued, however, to push Hershey’s to make a bigger commitment and this time to make it Fair Trade – the only certification that achieves the goal of supply chain transparency, a fair price for farmers, the elimination of forced child labor and a social premium aimed at fostering democratic community development.

In October of 2012, Hershey’s responded by announcing plans to source 100% certified cocoa by 2020.

“What does that mean?” we asked. Since the announcement did not state what kind of third party certification they had chosen, we continued to flood the company’s inbox with letters and petitions urging Hershey’s to choose Fair Trade.

So, when news came that Hershey’s would finally be working with a Fair Trade organization in their path to 100% certified cocoa, we saw a victory.

But what does that victory look like?

Hershey’s has announced that it has begun its path to being 100% certified sustainable by 2020. The company has released proposed benchmarks toward these 2020 goals, including 10% of its supply being certified by the end of 2013. In three years time, nearly half of the supply will be certified, with four years left to reach that 100% goal.

In the beginning stages, Hershey’s plans to buy from the three main certifiers in the game — UTZ, Rainforest Alliance, and Fair Trade USA. As the company’s buying volume increases, Hershey’s will be working with other well-established certifiers to reach more farmers worldwide.

According to the 2012 Cocoa Barometer, Hershey’s buys 200,000 metrics tons of cocoa from West Africa. This means that 200,000 tons will be certified as free of the worst forms of child labor, which is what UTZ, Rainforest Alliance, and Fair Trade safeguard against.  If one third of this is Fair Trade, that will be over 66,000 metric tons of Fair Trade cocoa! This will be a tremendous boost to farmers who currently produce more Fair Trade cocoa than the can sell at Fair Trade prices.

But why do we need to wait until 2020?

Raise the Bar and Fair Trade activists have asked for benchmarks in terms of volume over time. We don’t believe that progress can be made without verifiable steps in the right direction. Hershey’s has responded with pretty aggressive moves starting this year (10% of its supply by the end of 2013).

These benchmarks represent trial balloons though, and they are going to be assessing the results on various factors:

  1. Which one makes the biggest difference for the farmers
  2. Which one is the most cost effective (at this point the price paid is the close to the same for all the certifiers — the difference is where the premium is paid and who decides where it is paid)
  3. Which one is scalable and finally,
  4. Do consumers care and what will they demand.

So our work is not done yet!

And according to Tulane University’s study on certifiers and child labor, Fair Trade is doing more to combat child labor than other certifications so we as consumers must continue to push for even more purchases of Fair Trade Certified cocoa!

So, do we call this a victory or not?

All social justice movements are marked by small and large wins and small and large setbacks — the road is never straight and narrow with uncomplicated stages of struggle. Justice requires the long, messy work of keeping on, dedicating ourselves to a vision of the world where no children go to bed hungry; where families earn enough to send their kids to school and where there is space for communities to develop democratically.

There isn’t an end to the movement but if we want to stay engaged we have to celebrate the victories, even as partial as they are when we achieve them. If you never see the results of your letters, petitions, phone calls, and actions you aren’t going to be motivated to take the next step. We did make a difference: a large multi-national company listened to activists and conscious consumers. Now its up to us to make sure all of this happens — to push for and continue buy chocolate labeled Fair Trade Certified!

Hershey’s is still a large corporation and will make decisions from that perspective. For some of us, that will always be problematic. We prefer integrated systems with 100% transparency, fully Fair Trade, support for democratic cooperatives and educational labeling for the U.S. consumer.

Both struggles are meaningful and can be coordinated – pushing for Fair Trade values with the big companies and supporting the smaller companies that are 100% fully Fair Trade already. We want to support more farmers and push aggressively for the highest bar while educating and bringing lots of people into the movement in the clearest and most exciting way. That means we have to celebrate our victories when we can and then get up and keep on working.

hersheysWe won!

After years of pressure from Fair Trade activists like you, Hershey’s recently announced its next step toward 100% certified sustainable cocoa by committing to source cocoa through three of the world’s most recognized cocoa certifying organizations, including Fair Trade USA.

When Hershey’s made its announcement in October of 2012 to source 100% certified cocoa by 2020, many wondered what the commitment would look like and if that meant Certified Fair Trade.

Now it’s time for the Fair Trade movement to celebrate this milestone achievement of convincing the largest chocolate company in the United States to listen to its consumers and offer sustainably sourced cocoa that also addresses the worst forms of labor in its supply chain.

Global Exchange along with the Raise the Bar, Hershey! Coalition are filled with gratitude for all the years of activism from all of you to bring Hershey’s to this decision.

“This victory represents more than one company finally doing the right thing,” said Global Exchange’s Organizing Director, Kirsten Moller, “it represents thousands of consumers, children, churches, unions and YOU realizing our own power to make change and insisting that everyone is treated fairly by the big corporations that bring us our chocolate, coffee and T-shirts. After years of work, we have pushed GAP to address sweatshop labor, Starbucks to purchase Fair Trade, and now another big corporation has listened to consumer pressure and we have WON with the help of all of you… Enjoy your guilt-free kisses!”

Global Exchange will continue to monitor Hershey’s “21st Century Cocoa Plan” to ensure that its promise is kept to improve cocoa growing communities. We hope to see Hershey’s maintain its timeline of going fully Fair Trade by 2020 and serve as an example to all major chocolate companies out there to continue to raise the bar and improve its supply chain accountability.

In the meantime, let us congratulate Hershey’s on this huge step in the right direction and celebrate this monumental victory for the Fair Trade movement.

Now that Hershey’s has pledged to take these initials steps of going Fair Trade, we must continue the quest to get all chocolate companies to make the same commitment.

Let’s urge World’s Finest Chocolate to go Fair Trade! Take action today.

Read the Raise the Bar, Hershey Coalition statement on Hershey’s timeline transition to certified cocoa.

chiquita_hondurasJoin Global Exchange and our partners at the International Labor Rights Forum as we call on Chiquita banana supplier, Tres Hermanas, to bargain with SITRAINBA, the legally-recognized union on its three banana plantations in southern Honduras.

Since 2009, workers at Tres Hermanas have raised concerns over a pattern of labor rights violations, including failure to pay the minimum wage, unpaid overtime, and the illegal firing of workers attempting to exercise their right to organize. In order to protect their rights, workers on Tres Hermanas’ plantations formed the union SITRAINBA, which was officially recognized by the Honduran Ministry of Labor on August 15, 2012.

SITRAINBA 8 marzo 2013

But instead of recognizing and bargaining with SITRAINBA as required by Honduras’ labor law, Tres Hermanas’ management has launched a campaign of anti-union harassment, including firing four women who were prominent union supporters. These egregious violations of the workers’ internationally recognized right to organize are all the more shocking since the plantations are Rainforest Alliance certified.

Take a stand against union busting by sending a letter to Tres Hermanas demanding that the management bargain with SITRAINBA and reinstate the fired union members.

Learn more about the International Labor Rights Forum and their work to build a better world for workers.

WorldFinest_color-inFebruary brings us Valentine’s Day and we have chocolate on our minds.

While chocolate Valentines will be given and received, thousands of children will be at work on the cocoa fields, forced to serve under harsh conditions.

But not all chocolate! Certified Fair Trade chocolate ensures that forced child labor is not part of the cocoa supply chain that makes it to your loved one.

This Valentine’s Day, join us and demand that World’s Finest Chocolates GO FAIR TRADE.

Why World’s Finest Chocolate? In 2001 World’s Finest signed the Harkin-Engel Protocol, committing itself to immediate action to stop the worst forms of child labor in cocoa plantations in West Africa. Now over 10 years later, they still haven’t lived up to their promise of embracing Fair Trade Certification.

The time is now for World’s Finest to go Fair Trade.

Reaching over 40,000 schools and youth groups across the U.S., it is uniquely placed to supply quality Fair Trade chocolate to the thousands of schools and faith communities who demand that their chocolate be up to the highest ethical standards and give a meaningful boost to the world’s poor farmers.

Take action today! Send a Valentine’s card to Edmond Opler, the President of World’s Finest, encouraging him to act on his company’s commitment to Fair Trade! You can also download this free postcard, add your (or your child’s) artistic flare and send it to the World’s Finest headquarters.

Come on World’s Finest! Being the “finest” requires a true commitment to fairness.




Easter is the third most popular chocolate-consuming holiday in the U.S. behind Halloween and Valentine’s Day and there is arguably no more popular product this season than Cadbury Chocolate Easter Eggs.

And while Cadbury has demonstrated its commitment to ending forced child labor on the West African cocoa industry by selling Fair Trade certified chocolates in the UK, Canada, Ireland, Japan, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand, the same cannot be said of Cadbury chocolate products in the United States.


In 1988, the Hershey Company purchased Cadbury’s US chocolate business, including the exclusive rights to make and sell well-known brands like York Peppermint Patties, Cadbury Crème Eggs, and Cadbury Solid Milk Chocolate Bunnies.

Unfortunately, the Hershey Company refuses to meet the standard set by Cadbury’s overseas operations, even though hundreds of thousands of US consumers have called on Hershey to raise the bar and remove forced child labor as an ingredient in its products. These same consumers are eager to purchase treats for their families that align with their values.

The Raise the Bar Hershey Coalition has started a petition urging Hershey’s and Cadbury to offer Fair Trade Chocolate Easter eggs. Join over 5,000 people who have already signed the petition and get slave labor our of our Easter baskets and sign the petition today. 

If you’ve already signed the petition, be sure to share it with your friends. We need more voices!

For more ways to make your Spring a Fair Trade one, see some tips from our Fair Trade campaign.
Press Release: Raise the Bar Coalition to Hershey and Cadbury: Get Child Slave Labor out of our Easter Baskets
Petition: Tell Cadbury and Hershey to offer Fair Trade Chocolates for Easter in the US!

A few months ago Fair Trade USA (formerly Transfair USA) resigned their membership from international Fair Trade labeling organization, Fairtrade International (FLO) due to “[differing] perspectives on how to best achieve a common mission.” Despite Fair Trade USA’s 2011 announcement of it’s intentions to withdraw from FLO, many in the Fair Trade world had hoped reconciliation would be reached before the January 1, 2012 deadline.

There has been much debate and talk around this shake-up in the Fair Trade world with both Fair TradeUSA and FLO elaborating on the reasoning behind the transition.

Since the announcement, there has been a lot of change brewing with both labeling organizations. First, Fair Trade USA revealed its new labels that will appear on Fair Trade USA certified products and revealed their new initiative called “Fair Trade for All” which aims to double its impact by 2015. So, for vendors that choose to remain with Fair Trade USA but under its new certification standards, products that previously carried the ‘Bucket Boy’ label will now carry this new label.

And now, after extensive discussions with various stakeholders in the U.S., Fairtrade International has announced it will be launching new operations in the U.S. and maintaining the certification standards that FLO uses.

Fairtrade International outlined the components behind this launch, which include introducing the international FAIRTRADE Mark in the U.S. market, continued work with stakeholders to design and build an organizational structure that will reflect the needs of members and work to further expand Fair Trade in the U.S. consumer market. During the transition to an operating U.S. office, Fairtrade Canada will administer and monitor the certification and membership of the FAIRTRADE mark in the U.S. (Full disclosure: Global Exchange was at a meeting with Fair Trade advocates convened by FLO two weeks before the announcement was made public and participated in two consultations in the lead up).

According the FLO,

We recognize that there are many different approaches to Fair Trade. The global Fairtrade system will compete respectfully with FTUSA, to ensure that our cumulative efforts will continue to strengthen producers’ position in international trade and improve livelihoods. 

Only time will tell what consumers notice in the immediate and long term with another Fair Trade label in the market and different certification standards. Global Exchange will continue to advocate for Fair Trade through our retail stores and campaigns to make sure that more people are educated about the positive benefits of Fair Trade for the producers, people, and the planet.

Reverse Trick-or-Treating is back for it’s fifth year to give you the opportunity to treat-n-teach your neighbors!

This Halloween, you can help end the exploitation of children in the cocoa industry and raise awareness of Fair Trade! Trick-or-Treaters will be handing Fair Trade chocolate back to adults, with informational cards attached, to explain the problems of the cocoa industry and how Fair Trade presents a solution. By providing children with a way to be active, hundreds of thousands of households in the US are getting the message that child labor and forced labor will not be tolerated by our kids.

You can take part by visiting and ordering your kit today. This year, Global Exchange is offering a limited quantity of kits to individuals so be sure to get your order in quickly! 

Each kit contains 15 mini chocolates, informational cards and an instruction leaflet. The kits are free, you pay just $7.50 for shipping, but we are asking participants to round up if they are able, to help cover costs.

If you don’t manage to get one of the kits, you can still take part! Download free flyers here and pass them out on Halloween. You can purchase Fair Trade chocolate at any of our Global Exchange Stores, or check out one of the Fair Trade companies listed below.

If you are part of a group, school or organization and want to purchase a group kit, please visit Equal Exchanges order page.

Reverse Trick-or-Treating is an initiative launched by the human rights organization Global Exchange in cooperation with Fair Trade companies Equal ExchangeSweet Earth Chocolates and Coco-Zen, and is a collaborative effort of countless children, youth, and adults supported by institutions including nonprofit organizations, faith-based organizations, Fair Trade companies, and schools.

Get your kit today!

Fair Trade activists are taking the high-tech road to protest Hershey in supermarkets this summer.

In supermarkets across the nation, activists are informing shoppers about the labor violations associated with Hershey’s chocolate products with smartphone-enables “Consumer Alert” cards on the shelves where the chocolate bars can be found.

The ‘Consumer Alerts’ include QR codes, which allow shoppers to take action on their smartphones right in the store as part of a larger campaign, including an online petition on with over 13,000 supporters.

Summertime is S’mores season, and Hershey’s is using this time to promote their chocolate as an essential ingredient in the S’mores recipe. With National S’mores Day coming up on August 10th, the Raise the Bar, Hershey campaign (comprised of Global Exchange, Green America, and the International Labor Rights Forum) is using this opportunity to let consumers know that they should use Fair Trade chocolate when making s’mores at their summertime event until Hershey’s makes a commitment to ending child labor in its cocoa supply chain by shifting to Fair Trade certified cocoa.

The Raise the Bar, Hershey campaign is encouraging everyone to take to their local supermarket and make a s’mores video. Watch this video and get inspired!

How it’s done:

  1. Print copies of the Hershey consumer alert in color or in black and white and fold them in half, and grab your favorite video filming device.
  2. At local stores, videotape yourself placing consumer alerts on the Hershey display, s’mores display, and/or Hershey section of the candy aisle. Have fun with it! It can be completely simple – no editing required.
  3. In the video, be sure to say who you are, the town where you’re taking action, and why you care about ending child labor in the cocoa industry and replacing it with Fair Trade. At the end of the video, ask viewers to visit to take the action within a week themselves; zoom in on the URL on the consumer alert, if you can.
  4. Send the video to all your friends, make it your Facebook status update, tweet it, upload it to YouTube, etc
  5. Definitely email us a link right away at, so we can share, post and celebrate your actions from coast to coast.

Simple as that! Now, what are you waiting for? Time to tell Hershey’s that We Want More from our S’mores!

Read the Press Release: Consumers Use Smart Phone Codes in Supermarkets to Campaign Against Child Labor in Hershey Bars.

Every second Saturday in May, the Fair Trade community comes together to celebrate World Fair Trade Day to honor artisans and small-scale producers all over. The day is also used as an opportunity to raise awareness for Fair Trade and to grow the community.

This year, the Fair Trade Resource Network has set a goal to gather 100,000 participants for World Fair Trade Day to take a Fair Trade Coffee Break. Interested in participating? It’s as simple as gathering with friends, co-workers, or community members to pause, enjoy each other’s company with some Fair Trade coffee, chocolate, tea, fruit, or various other Fair Trade products and  showcase, and/or discuss the benefits of Fair Trade. Have something planned? Register your event with Global Exchange and we will add it to the Fair Trade Resource Network tally.

Don’t have anything planned yet? Those of you in or near the Chicago area this weekend can spend World Fair Trade Day with Global Exchange at the Green Festival taking place this weekend, May 14-15 at McCormick Place. The Fair Trade Pavilion is filled with great speakers, including a talk by Global Exchange Fair Trade Campaign Director, Adrienne Fitch-Frankel who will be hosting a screening of the film, Dark Side of Chocolate on Saturday at 4:30pm.

It’s a particularly great time for the Chicago Fair Trade community, as the city was just named an official Fair Trade Town, making it the largest Fair Trade city in the U.S. and the second largest globally, just behind London. Nancy Jones and Ervin Lopez from the Chicago Fair Trade Steering Committee will be speaking at the Green Festival on Saturday at 2:30pm. Join us in congratulating Chicago on their amazing achievement on becoming a Fair Trade Town. As Nancy Jones of Chicago Fair Trade stated on why promoting Fair Trade is important,

Though the task of global peace and sustainability seems overwhelming, we know that Fair Trade provides us with a doable step that we can take each day. Asking for it, gifting it, mentioning it.

While at the Chicago Green Festival, be sure to visit the Global Exchange booth to learn about all of our programs, and to see all the wonderful Fair Trade products we have for sale. We’ll raise a cup of Fair Trade coffee together!

After the World Fair Trade Day weekend comes to a close, remember that celebrating Fair Trade can take place everyday. Starting with your morning breakfast with a Fair Trade banana, in the middle of the day at a game of soccer with your Fair Trade soccer ball, to winding down your day with a glass of Fair Trade wine. Making socially conscious choices in your daily life through Fair Trade not only helps the Fair Trade producer growing those crops, but also the whole global community by showing that there is a better and more sustainable way to do trade in the world.

With that, I wish you all a Happy World Fair Trade Day tomorrow, and everyday.

P.S. For those of you in the Bay Area, there is still time to join Fair Trade USA and the Stag Dining Group at the Wake Up the World Fair Trade Brunch. The brunch takes place at the HubSoMa, Saturday, May 14th at 10am. You’ll be searched what sounds like a delicious Fair Trade brunch by some stellar chefs. Don’t believe me? Check out the menu, and the promptly grab your last minute ticket.