Young Fair Trade activist Natalie's postcard to Hershey
Why Hershey’s Easter chocolates?
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.
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’s chocolate products in the United States.
Natalie's colored-in postcard for Hershey
Unfortunately, the Hershey Company refuses to meet the standards 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.
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.
4) Host a party: Show the movie Dark Side of Chocolate to learn more about child labor in the West Africa cocoa industry. This powerful film is a great way to recruit new Fair Trade Activists so that next year will be the year Hershey’s Raises the Bar.
Yesterday we shared news about an eighth grader named Jasper Perry-Anderson who delivered an online petition to Hershey with 16,000+ signatures on it encouraging the company to increase its commitment to preventing abusive child labor on cocoa farms. Along with the petition, Jasper and fellow activists also delivered more than 500 Valentines made by kids for the members of the Hershey Trust.
Students at Immaculate Heart of Mary Elementary School School, taken just after their visit with Mr. Cavanaugh
Hershey got another Valentine’s Day surprise, this one from the west coast the day before. On February 13th, Fifty-six students at the Immaculate Heart of Mary Elementary School School in Los Angeles, accompanied by their Principal and two teachers, delivered Valentine postcards in person to Hershey Corp. board member (and Milton Hershey School trustee) Robert F. Cavanaugh at his office in Long Beach.
Why Hershey? Hershey is not Fair Trade Certified. It’s time for Hershey to be a leader in responsible chocolate and shift toward Fair Trade cocoa!
During the Valentines delivery, students from Immaculate Heart of Mary Elementary School sensed Mr. Cavanaugh was not pleased to see them, but they persevered, and two students read to him letters they had written regarding Hershey and child labor. The students gave Mr. Cavanaugh the 56 Valentine “Have a Heart” postcards they had written, and Cavanaugh promised them he would take them to the Hershey corporate offices in Pennsylvania when he went there the following week.
The Principal, Connie McGhee, reports that the students were very fired up by the event and now want to write “someone in Washington” about the issue. Following up on this enthusiasm, Ms. McGhee plans to initiate a fair trade curriculum for the students this spring.
One of the Valentines delivered to Hershey this year by Fair Trade activists
Northern CA students participated as well. Elementary school students in San Francisco, including John Muir Elementary School, also participated in Hershey campaign Valentine’s activities, including decorating and writing Valentine letters asking Hershey to “Have a Heart.”
All across the country, chocolate lovers are asking Hershey to have a heart when it comes to sourcing cocoa. These Hershey actions are the result of a coordinated effort by members and supporters of Raise the Bar, Hershey!, a coalition of organizations fighting ongoing labor abuses such as child labor, forced labor and trafficking in the cocoa industry. The campaign has involved over one hundred thousand consumers thus far.
The Raise the Bar Hershey’s campaign which has been calling on Hershey to go Fair Trade, collected over 100,000 petition signatures through Change.org and other sources, and organized petition deliveries, shareholder resolutions, and Facebook actions to blanket Hershey’s wall with messages.
Two days ago Hershey’s announced that it will make a commitment to purchasing Rainforest Alliance Certified cocoa for all of its Bliss Chocolate products and it will invest $10 million dollars in education and its smart-phone CocoaLink project to teach West African farmers to be more efficient.
So what does this actually mean? Have we won an important first step or are we being duped?
*The following sentence was updated on 3/27/2012 for clarification.
Original sentence: Hersheys’ CocoaLink, funded in part by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, is a project that aims to increase yields and productivity on small cocoa farms by introducing new plants, techniques and inputs to small farmers and provide them with real-time advice through a cell phone network.
Updated sentence: According to World Cocoa Foundation Communications Manager Marisa Yoneyama, “CocoaLink is possible through a public-private partnership between The Hershey Company, the World Cocoa Foundation (WCF) and The Ghana Cocoa Board.” In early 2009, the World Cocoa Foundation announced a new, $40 million program funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and 14 chocolate industry companies to significantly improve the livelihoods of approximately 200,000 cocoa farmers in Cameroon, Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Liberia and Nigeria.
The (cell phone network) idea is that by increasing yields, farmers will have more income and the need for child labor will decrease.But will this work, and how would you know for sure?
Since passage of the Harkin-Engel Protocol over 10 years ago, Global Exchange’s Fair Trade program, along with the Raise the Bar Hershey’s Coalition, has been calling for a code of conduct for suppliers that would ban child labor and put measures in place to enforce such codes. Following Harkin-Engel, the whole chocolate industry committed to ending child labor, forced labor, and trafficking in their cocoa supply chains. A decade later, hundreds of thousands of children continue to labor in hazardous conditions in West Africa, particularly in the Ivory Coast and Ghana, and the US Department of Labor has noted five West African nations whose cocoa may still be tainted by forced and/or child labor.
It’s not clear how increased yields would actually eliminate the worst forms of child labor but monitoring is a good first step. This is the first commitment that Hershey has made to using an independent, third – party certification system to ensure that its cocoa is grown sustainably, including the monitoring of forced and child labor.
This commitment is a welcome first step for Hershey to improve its supply chain accountability and shows that it is responsive to consumer pressure.
You did it!! Your petitions, actions, questions and demands were heard!
This announcement also demonstrates that The Hershey Company acknowledges the severity of the labor abuses that taint the West African cocoa sector, where Hershey’s sources the majority of its cocoa.
So why aren’t we happier?
Well, Global Exchange has been committed to Fair Trade since its beginning in this country, and we believe that Fair Trade certification is the best way to achieve the goal of supply chain transparency, a fair price for farmers, and the elimination of forced child labor in the production of our chocolate. There is a difference between Rain Forest Alliance Certification and something that is Fair Trade certified.
Fair Trade independent third-party certification addresses poverty, sustainability and empowerment of producers (and workers) in the world’s poorest countries through guaranteed minimum prices plus an additional social premium to be invested in community development. Rainforest Alliance certification, also independent third-party, encompasses all aspects of sustainability as well, but does not offer guaranteed prices, relying instead on the farmers’ capacity to increase yields and efficiency and negotiate for themselves in the global marketplace. According to Rainforest Alliance’s own website:
Fairtrade labelling standards are designed to tackle poverty and empower producers in the world’s poorest countries, giving them a guaranteed price for their products. Rather than emphasizing how products are traded, Rainforest Alliance certification…focuses on how farms are managed.
Cocoa (or cacao) pods, where chocolate comes from
Increasing yields and efficiency may be a way to increase income temporarily, but without price guarantees it only means more cocoa for Hershey’s. Relying on the market to set prices and farmers’ incomes means that when yields increase, prices will drop. What will the efficiency and higher yields cost in terms of chemical inputs, strain on water resources and natural sustainability? Rainforest Alliance focuses on management rather than workers, on efficiency rather than justice. Hershey’s, you picked the wrong one!
Any model that is not truly sustainable, that chooses short-term gain for individual farmers over community development will not produce the conditions necessary to eliminate trafficking and forced child labor.
So is this a victory or not?
Yes, we should recognize this as a positive step forward but we can’t overstate it or we risk becoming too complacent and leaving the public confused.
Hershey’s has taken a step forward by:
Responding to consumer pressure and Fair Trade activism: WE have convinced the largest chocolate company in the U.S to change the way it does business!
Acknowledging the problem.
Agreeing to third party verification.
We would like Hershey to continue taking more steps. Yes, we can celebrate. And then get back to work.
Happy almost February everybody. Here’s your monthly dose of Fair Trade news and updates, assembled just for you hungry readers. Don’t forget to scroll to the end of this post for the “Fair Trade in the News” section!
THIS VALENTINES DAY, TELL HERSHEY TO HAVE A HEART
Almost all major chocolate companies have begun to commit to using independent, third-party programs to certify that their cocoa suppliers comply with international labor standards, but Hershey continues to lag behind the industry.
Valentine’s Day is a major chocolate buying holiday, but gifts for your sweetheart should not come at the expense of worker rights. Forced labor, child labor and trafficking continue in the cocoa industry in West Africa.
Here’s how YOU can make a difference!
♥ Create your own personalized Valentine telling Hershey to use Fair Trade cocoa for its products, like the iconic chocolate Kiss. Address your valentine to Hershey Trust at 100 Crystal A Drive, Hershey, PA 17033. Please mail your Valentines to Hershey by February 17, 2012.
In “Chocolate’s Child Slaves,” CNN’s David McKenzie travels into the heart of the Ivory Coast to investigate children working in the cocoa fields.
David McKenzie and Brent Swails of CNN revealed:
The Freedom Project wanted our team to answer one question: Ten years after all the major players in the chocolate industry promised to end trafficking and child labor in Ivory Coast, was that promise kept?
Sounds riveting, no? Air times and more info are online here.
Here’s a video clip from this project:
Graphic Credit: USFT
2012 USFT NATIONAL CONVERGENCE COMING UP FAST!
United Students for Fair Trade (USFT) has its 9th national convergence coming up. This year the theme is Fair Trade: Where Do We Go From Here? Here’s the where, when, what and why’s about it, from the USFT announcement:
Kick off your spring with more than just a spring-cleaning –join United Students for Fair Trade for our 9th National Convergence, coming up on March 2nd-4th at the University of Maryland at College Park. USFT is proud to open our annual convergence to both students and professionals to learn more about the exciting future of the fair trade movement. Register by February 1, and receive an official USFT Alta Gracia (union-made, living wage apparel) t-shirt. Registration is limited to the first 300 participants—and spots are filling quickly! Registration closes February 17th.
The theme “Where Do We Go From Here?” will cover all questions that have come up during this pivotal time in the fair trade movement with speakers representing the worker, NGO and company voices behind the movement. There will be workshops and discussion sessions, along with the chance to browse a Fair Trade marketplace and stock up on fair trade goods. At this convergence, you will learn skills that will help you organize a movement on campus, inspire others, and empower fair trade producers all at the same time!
Just $5 to Register for Webinar 120
January 31, 1:00-1:50pm Eastern time
1. Rodney North, Equal Exchange, The Answer Man – Information for the Public & Media
2. Michael Sheridan, Catholic Relief Services, Director of the Borderlands Coffee Project (based in Ecuador)
FTRN’s Executive Director, Jeff Goldman
The Hershey Company today announced its plan to reinforce cocoa sustainability efforts by accelerating farmer and family development in West Africa, where 70 percent of the world’s cocoa is grown.Read more.
Reports about the inhumane or dangerous working conditions in Chinese factories that manufacture the innovative products for Apple, Inc. — most recently by the New York Times — have brought publicity Apple probably does not want. For this student of China’s high-tech industry, however, the revelations are not surprising. Read more.
Can you believe that Valentine’s Day is right around the corner? It feels like we just got done with holiday craziness! If you do the Valentine’s Day thing, you’re probably planning a date night or a gift, and there’s most likely a decadent dessert in the works. How can an ethical eater make sure that those Valentine’s Day indulgences aren’t at the expense of human rights? Read more.
How do mission-driven businesses integrate principles and design? For members of the Fair Trade Federation (FTF), a commitment to the nine Principles of Fair Trade not only provides the ethical foundation for their business practices, but inspires the design of products as well. Fair Trade Federation members are businesses based in the U.S. or Canada who engage in long-term trading relationships with artisans and farmers in developing countries. Their business models create sustainable, positive change by: Read more.
Apple has taken the brunt of recent criticism, but don’t think that by boycotting the iPhone you’ll be doing workers in China any favors. Foxconn, the company under the most scrutiny for its labor practices, makes products for a huge swath of the consumer electronics industry including Nokia, Samsung and many others. Read more.
The annual report was prepared by the Offices of Senator Tom Harkin, Representative Eliot Engel, The United States Department of Labor, The Government of Cote d’Ivoire, The Ghana Ministry on Employment and Social Welfare, and the International Chocolate and Cocoa Industry. See highlights and view photos from the CLCCG annual meeting, held in Washington, D.C. in January 2012. Read more.
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This past Halloween, children and families spread the word about fair trade, switching up holiday conventions a bit while having a good time to boot. Folks from across the country sent in orders for the popular Reverse Trick-or-Treating kit, and Global Exchange distributed nearly 1,000 of them to supporters, both seasoned vets of Reverse Trick-or-Treating and first-timers.
Inside the kits? Delicious fair trade chocolate pieces, printed cards with an introduction to fair trade and the abuses of the cocoa industry, and an invitation to learn more on the Reverse Trick-or-Treating website.
In West Africa the abuses of the cocoa industry are rampant, including substandard wages, oftentimes forced labor. The Dark Side of Chocolate is a heart breaking documentary that we’ve been working to promote which highlights that those consigned to slavery are often children. We also released a report earlier this year titled Still Time to Raise the Bar: The REAL Corporate Social Responsibility Report for the Hershey Company 2011, which indicates that confectioner giant Hershey’s has a long way to go to ensure that it’s cocoa slavery free. As a complement to our advocacy, we’re using Reverse Trick-or-Treating to build a connection, child to child, and to enlist children as ambassadors to encourage adults to make a change in their chocolate buying habits.
To order a copy of The Dark Side of Chocolate, visit our website or email fairtrade (at) globalexchange (dot) org.
Reverse Trick-Or-Treating would not have been possible without the help of the numerous individuals and organizations we’ve worked with. Though we can’t thank everyone individually, we’d like to focus attention on the following groups:
• Equal Exchange, for collaborating with us on Reverse Trick-Or- Treating for the 5th year in a row and donating fair trade chocolate for the campaign;
• Coco-Zen and Sweet Earth Organic Chocolates for their generous donations;
Got pictures of your participation? Send them in to kylie (at) globalexchange (dot) org.
Photo contest winner: Rasha Sharhan
Speaking of photos, the Raise the Bar, Hershey campaign spent the Halloween season collecting photos from all of you for the Hershey Halloween Photo Contest to send Hershey the clear message that we would not accept Halloween candy made with child labor. A big congratulations goes out to Rasha Sharhan from Cabrini University who submitted the winning photograph!
Hershey is America’s favorite chocolate brand, accounting for 42.5% of the US market. Yet, inside almost every Hershey chocolate product is the bitter truth that the cocoa used to produce the chocolate may very well have been produced under harmful conditions, including forced labor, human trafficking, and abusive child labor.
Since at least 2001, the Hershey Company has been aware of the problems that exist at the start of its supply chain, yet it continues to source from this region without ensuring that labor rights abuses do not occur in the production of the cocoa it uses.
That was last week. This week there have been more labor abuse accusations made against Hershey, this one from the United Students Against Sweatshops (USAS). Earlier today John Fitzgerald from Penn State USAS sent the following announcement:
Today, guestworkers and local workers staged a sit-in at a Hershey chocolate factory in Pennsylvania to protest the disturbing exploitation of student guestworkers and demand living wage jobs for local workers. USAS activists will join Pennsylvania workers with a delegation to the factory soon, but right now we’re asking you to take action to support the guestworkers.
Watch the video National Guestworker Alliance’s video here:
USAS was alerted to human rights abuses of international workers in the United States. This summer, hundreds of students from around the world each paid $3,000-6,000 for what they thought was a cultural exchange program. What they were actually greeted with were chocolate packing jobs at sweatshop conditions, poverty pay, severe pain, no cultural experience, and virtually no chance to make back the money they paid for the program. All this is going on at a Hershey Chocolate factory at Hershey, PA, in Penn State’s backyard. Hershey Chocolate is exploiting international student labor instead of bringing much-needed jobs to Pennsylvanian families.
Take Action: Click here to e-mail Hershey’s CEO John Bilbrey and demand an end to the exploitation of student guestworkers, and/or call his office at 717-534-4200.
Photo Credit: Fair Trade USA
FAIR TRADE USA RELEASES NEW 2011 IMPACT REPORTS FOR COFFEE, COCOA, SUGAR AND TEA
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 Change.org 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:
Print copies of the Hershey consumer alert in coloror in black and white and fold them in half, and grab your favorite video filming device.
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.
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 raisethebarhershey.org to take the action within a week themselves; zoom in on the www.raisethebarhershey.org URL on the consumer alert, if you can.
Send the video to all your friends, make it your Facebook status update, tweet it, upload it to YouTube, etc
Definitely email us a link right away at email@example.com, 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!
FAIR TRADE PHOTO CONTEST IN FULL SWING: VOTING NOW OPEN
Scores of beautiful and insightful photos are now competing in the third annual Fair Trade Photo Contest. The 12 winning photos will be featured in the 2012 Fair Trade Calendar. Vote for up to 5 Photos by July 16.
Please help share positive and diverse Fair Trade stories by encouraging your contacts to vote in the Fair Trade photo contest, and don’t forget to vote yourself!
The 12 winning Fair Trade photos will be featured in the 2012 Fair Trade Calendar, produced by FTRN and Fair Trade Federation.
Pre-order your calendars today: The 2012 Fair Trade calendar is available for pre-purchase now. The savings are big if you order early. Check out the pre-order early bird prices here. The more you get the more you save.
Rock your picnic, barbeque or campfire with gooey, chocolatey Fair Trade s’mores. Why? Because you’ll send a message to Hershey that it’s gotta get child and forced labor out of its cocoa. And you’ll enjoy your s’mores so much more with chocolate that frees kids from child labor and empowers cocoa farmers to free themselves from poverty.
During your s’more-fest, be sure to:
1. Collect signatures on this petition asking Hershey to stop using child labor and become Fair Trade Certified
2. Count the s’mores you eat and register them online
3. Take pictures and videos of yourself with our s’mores poster and email the youtube link or your photos to firstname.lastname@example.org
Visit Global Exchange’s Fair Trade Campaign page for more s’mores event ideas and free resources.
Traditional block printing meets modern design
LEARN ABOUT BLOCK PRINTING TECHNIQUE WHILE SAVING IN SF THIS WEEKEND
Introducing Summer Saturday Savings! Every Saturday this summer July 2- Sept 3, 2011, the Global Exchange Fair Trade Store in San Francisco will be offering 15% OFF on featured clothing, scarves, tablecloths & kitchen ware, AND much more!
Kicking things off this Saturday, July 2nd, there will be free blockprinting demonstrations, a kids’ station, and customers will enjoy 15% off all summer dresses – just in time for that Fourth of July barbeque.
Learn about the traditional block printing technique used on many Fair Trade pieces this Saturday! Plus, enter a raffle by sharing what ‘independence’ means to you for chance to win a gift certificate to the Fair Trade store.
Event Details Where: Global Exchange Fair Trade Store 4018 24th Street When: 1pm-4pm Saturday July 2nd More info: Call (415) 648-8068
HAVE YOU WATCHED KERRY KENNEDY’S FAIR TRADE RALLY SPEECH?
Check it out here:
Help the Raise the Bar Hershey folks reach their target of 1,500 video views. They’re aiming for1,500 views. You can help by sharing this link to it on your Facebook page and/or sending out this suggested tweet: Have you watched Kerry Kennedy’s #fairtrade rally speech yet? http://ow.ly/5svir via @gxfairtrade.
Michelle Obama, fashion modeling with spunk Photo credit: ecouterre.com