Adrienne, GX Fair Trade Campaigner (left) and Kirsten Moller (right), Global Exchange Executive Director, want Fair Trade Certified now!
Now, time for a little update on Global Exchange’s Fair Trade campaign work… A couple of weeks ago, Adrienne, Global Exchange’s Fair Trade Campaigner and Kirsten, Global Exchange’s Executive Director made their way to Hershey, Pennsylvania for the Hershey’s annual shareholder meeting. Global Exchange, who is a shareholder in the company, set out to propose Resolution 4, which would create a board-level committee on human rights. Resolution 4 would serve as an important tool for continuing the work Hershey’s has begun in eradicating human rights violations from its supply chain.
Resolution 4 stems from the 2001 Harken-Engel Protocol, where major chocolate manufacturers, including Hershey’s, made a commitment to certify that all cocoa sourced would be free of child labor by July 2005. However, 2005 came and went and chocolate companies still had not eradicated child labor from their supply chain and extended their deadline to July 2008. With July 2008 quickly approaching, Hershey’s still can’t certify that the worst forms of child labor have been eliminated from its cocoa supply.
Two years ago, Global Exchange presented several other resolutions that would serve as tools to address ways to end child slavery in the cocoa industry. Hershey’s response was that they would attempt to take care of it themselves. Once again, two years later, the child labor issue has not been addressed and once again, Global Exchange presented another resolution.
According to Adrienne, Resolution 4, which creates a board-level human rights committee, “will not commit the board to any particular course of action, but it will give the board a forum to address these issues, and where organizations who are monitoring this issue can provide the service of bringing issues of concern to the attention of the board and be in dialogue so that we can work in partnership to protect stock value and protect children.”
Global Exchange passed out Hershey kisses with a little twist. In place of the iconic Hershey’s tags, Boston-based visual artist, Kassandra Derby helped create Hershey kisses with new tags that carried different quotes from government and media quotes documenting child slavery. One quote read “We left our country only because of money…We have become slaves because of cocoa. – Slavery: A Global Investigation (UK Channel 4).”
Unfortunately, voting for the resolution had taken place even before the presentations were made, so needless to say the human rights resolution was defeated. The Global Exchange team spoke with countless residents in the community and Hershey worker shareholders who were upset with the decisions that were made. They felt that Hershey’s was no longer listening to their needs and no longer upholding the values set forth by Milton Hershey when he started the company. Milton Hershey was an innovator in worker rights and community relations, so they should care about the child slavery issue.
Chairman of the Board, Kenneth Wolfe and the company’s CEO, Dave West continually responded to questions amd complaints about the company from shareholders and community members by saying that customers have not been complaining, so there must not be a problem.
Prove them wrong by doing your part in voicing your concern about child slavery by calling their customer comment line and telling them that it’s about time that they address the child slavery problem. 1-800-468-1714 Monday – Friday 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. ET