Elizabeth & Shelley at Hershey's

Today, the Hershey Company’s board of directors and shareholders came together for their annual meeting in Hershey, Pennsylvania.

So, what better day than today to call on Hershey’s to chart a new course into a future free of child labor and poverty in communities that grow the company’s cocoa.

Green America’s Fair Trade coordinator, Elizabeth O’Connell and former Global Exchange Fair Trade intern, Shelley Alingas attended the shareholder meeting and were able to get up to the microphone and ask questions about child labor and speak out on behalf of the thousands of West African children forced into labor on the cocoa fields during the Q&A period.

The Raise the Bar, Hershey Campaign, sponsored by Global Exchange, Green America, and the International Labor Rights Forum, also used today to announce the winners of the Hershey Brand Jamming contest. The Brand Jamming contest brought attention to Hershey’s failure to crack down on child labor and other abuses in its cocoa supply chain by asking activists all over to use their creativity to create mock advertisements telling Hershey’s to raise the bar on their corporate social responsibility.

The Grand Prize overall winner of $1,000 was Jason Pearson of San Clemente, CA whose one-minute mock video advertisement “Brand Jam” tells the real story of where cocoa comes from.

Thousands of people all over voted for their favorite entries for the best slogan, best video, and best ad. Congratulations to all our winners and entrants! A big thank you also goes out to all those who voted.

The winner for Best Slogan: “Hershey: Sweet Chocolate. Bitter Story” submitted by Tyson Weems of Portland, ME.

The winner for Best Video: Behind the Hershey Smiles, submitted by Aaron Thurman: Indianapolis, IN.

The winner for Best Poster: Children Behind Bars, submitted by Jason Pearson of San Clemente, CA

All first place winners will receive a Fair Trade chocolate gift basket. The winning entries will be used by the Raise the Bar Hershey campaign to call attention to Hershey’s failure to address child and forced labor in its cocoa supply chain. Winning entries will be featured at Green Festivals nationwide, on t-shirts, buttons, and bumper stickers. For more on the winners and a list of the runner-ups, visit the Brand Jam winners page.

To reinforce the message that has been sent at the Hershey’s shareholder meeting concerned consumers across the country are sending emails to Hershey and posting on the company’s Facebook wall. They join the 30,000 people who have already contacted the company to make it clear that cocoa made with forced child labor is unacceptable.

As GX’s Fair Trade Cocoa Director, Adrienne Fitch-Frankel states:

“Hershey shareholders deserve to know the facts: Hershey has failed to eliminate child and forced labor from its cocoa supply chain, nearly a decade after committing to do so. This creates a dangerous level of risk for investors, and an intolerable situation for the children effected.”

Let your voice be heard. Send a message to Hershey’s board and shareholders by signing our online petition. We are trying to collect 10,000 new signatures today to send a clear message to shareholders.

Stay connected with Global Exchange’s Fair Trade cocoa campaign by signing up to their e-mail list and get the latest updates on the Raise the Bar campaign and other actions you can take to get Hershey’s to go Fair Trade.

This article originally appeared on Treehugger, who is partnering with Green Festivals this year. Green Festival is celebrating its 10th year and is kicking off April 9-10 in San Francisco. Global Exchange members get in FREE! Not a member? Take advantage of our special Green Festival membership rate of $25.

They say time flies when you’re having fun. That certainly has been the case with the Green Festivals, a joint project of Global Exchange and Green America, with our partners at Seven Star Events.

As we go into our tenth year, these parties-with-a-purpose have now reached more than one million people, inspiring them with green/eco alternatives to the nature-destroying corporate model.

This year we are expanding to New York (April 21-22), and Los Angeles (October 29-30), so if you know people who we should be in touch with–either for our Host Committees or to speak or exhibit or volunteer at the events–please let us know. Our next Green Festival in San Francisco is happening November 12-13.

Our combination of green enterprise and radical education has struck a chord with the hippest people — those who are trying to be good ancestors by creating a sustainable economic model to ensure that our grandchildren will not inherit a burnt cinder of a planet.

The green economy is the only sector that tells people: “consume less, and consume consciously, instead of unconsciously.” We are not so naïve as to think that we can “buy our way to salvation.” But people do have a number of basic needs for food, clothing, shelter, health, and fun! And it is better to meet these needs by supporting enterprises run by people who share our values of social justice and environmental restoration.

Yes, there is green-washing out there. But consumers are increasingly hip to companies that cannot back up their green claims with tangible proof. And the great thing about Green Festival is that we use Green America’s standards for social and environmental responsibility to screen all of the exhibitors – so there is no green-washing at the Green Festivals.

Those of us promoting fair trade and the green economy understand that we possess a market advantage over the mainstream corporate products. Each product we sell is actually two products: the product itself and the story of who produced it – what company stands behind the product — and how it was produced. Whereas the model of the big corporations is to hide their impact on workers and the environment, the green companies treat workers, the environment their communities and their customers as stakeholders with them in creating a better future.

Plus, there is a simple supply-and-demand factor working in favor of the green economy. As natural resources get depleted, the profitability of saving resources and developing renewable substitutes goes up. So we are seeing a steady shift of capital, policy and jobs in a green direction. Sure, the system is not shifting as quickly as we would like it to, but it is shifting nonetheless.

Those of us who have a radical critique of capitalism as practiced by the transnational banks and corporations are in the best position to redefine enterprise in a triple-bottom-line direction. For 22 years now, my organization, Global Exchange, has pioneered the non-profit enterprise model, subordinating profits to social justice and environmental restoration. In developing this new model of enterprise there are two questions that must be answered correctly: (1) In the production of your goods and services did you exploit people or nature?, and (2) What do you do with the profits, put them into your own pocket or put them back into the education work?

The ten years of Green Festivals have given us a large network of green companies and tens of thousands of grassroots supporters. So now it is time to build on this network to create a permanent Green Festival–GreenMart, the first eco-mall convergence platform that will be one-stop shopping for the green economy. If you are interested in learning more about this new venture, don’t hesitate to contact me at 415-255-2341 or Kevin(at)globalexchange(dot)org. Looking forward to seeing you at Green Festival this year!

The other week, I was prepping my Fair Trade mudpie recipe and realized I needed more Fair Trade sugar. It took me visits to three different grocery stores to actually spot that Fair Trade label on the pack of sugar. That’s what I get for not stopping at Rainbow Grocery first. It made me realize that while the Fair Trade movement is making lots of great progress like Ben and Jerry’s announcing earlier this year to go 100% Fair Trade by 2013 and TransFair USA’s ever-growing list of Fair Trade Certified products, there is still a need to get those products in more grocery stores around the country.

Well, action can be taken by you and I to make sure this happens. Global Exchange’s Fair Trade campaign recently partnered with Green America in an effort to Fair Trade Your Supermarket.

There are many actions that you can take to Fair Trade Your Supermarket. First, take stock of Fair Trade products in your supermarket—look for coffee, tea, chocolate, rice, sugar, honey, wine, fresh fruit, and olive oil. If you find Fair Trade options, buy them and thank the store for offering them. Then, you can encourage the store to stock more Fair Trade products by talking to the store manager as a loyal customer, providing comment cards to your local store and the national headquarters. …. Whatever actions you take, make sure you let the store know that Fair Trade is good for business and good for people the world over. The next time you are grocery shopping, try these simple actions to use your purchasing power for good!

The actions provided include:

  1. Filling our comment cards
  2. Talking to the store manager in person
  3. Leaving a message on the shelves and
  4. Giving out samples.

I really like the idea of leaving messages on the shelves because it targets the consumers directly to make a decision to go Fair Trade while they are mid-purchase, or just educates consumers that are unaware of Fair Trade products that can be made available. The Fair Trade Your Supermarket campaign has some great postcards that are shelf-ready for you to download. I know I’m ready with the postcards already.

Don’t forget to take photos of the actions you have taken and share them with the campaign. Be sure to check out the photostream of others who have already joined the campaign to Fair Trade their supermarket.

Join the campaign by asking for Fair Trade in your supermarket, choosing Fair Trade when you shop in order to support sustainable and just trade worldwide.

(photo: Fair Trade Your Supermarket)