Hershey’s and Fair Trade: Is it a Victory?

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.

Spring is the time of the year for renewal and hope, and there is still work to do for Fair Trade activists. Whether you celebrate Passover, Easter or neither we’ve got activities for you.

Thanks to all your support, the Hershey Company has taken a first step to trace its supply chain and prevent child labor, however, the company still has a long way to go to ensure all of its products are free from abusive child labor. With our “encouragement” it just might happen.

Here are four things you can do to make this Spring a Fair Trade one.

1) Passover Seder: At this year’s Passover Seder use this Haggadah Supplement: Next Year, an End to Forced Labor in the Cocoa Fields and tell the company about it.

2) Easter Bunny: For Easter, children can send a message to Hershey’s that they want Fair trade by coloring and writing postcards to send the message that Every bunny loves Fair Trade.

3) Sign the petition: At this time of year, there is no more popular product than Cadbury Chocolate Easter Eggs. While Cadbury has demonstrated its commitment to selling Fair Trade chocolates in the UK, Ireland, Japan, South Africa and Australia—the same cannot be said of Cadbury chocolate in the United States. Join us in telling Cadbury and Hershey to sell Fair Trade chocolate in the US!

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.

Happy Spring!

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.

Hopefully they’ll look to our Fair Trade curriculum for their teaching needs!

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.

Jasper Perry-Anderson with her Hershey petition

Get Involved:



Elizabeth O'Connell (left), Jasper (right) with fellow youth activist

The following is a guest blog post by Elizabeth O’Connell of the Raise the Bar, Hershey Coalition:

“Valentine’s Day in Hershey”

Very early, and not quite yet bright, we jumped in the car and headed north…for Hershey, PA.  At 9:00am we met Jasper Perry-Anderson, a Philadelphia eighth grader who created an online petition encouraging the company to increase its commitment to ethically sourced cocoa to prevent abusive child labor on the cocoa farms from where it sources.

Jasper holding petitions for Hershey

In just two weeks, Jasper’s petition on Change.org gained more than 16,000 signatures from individuals around the world.  In addition to the petitions  we delivered more than 500 Valentines made by kids for the members of the Hershey Trust.  These Valentines were made by students from across the country, though largely from New York State thanks to NYSUT  and the New York Labor Religion Coalition.  The Valentines contained statements like “This Valentine’s Day, I want to give my Valentine chocolate from laborers who have earned fair wages” and “We have feelings and so do Africa’s kids. They suffer.”

Cathy O’Brien accepting petitions and valentines from Jasper on behalf of Hershey Trust

Cathy O’Brien, an employee of the Trust, accepted the petitions and valentines on behalf of the the Trust.

Simultaneously, on the other side of the country, 56 seventh and eighth graders delivered Valentines to the Chairman of the Trust, Robert Cavanaugh, at his real estate office in Los Angeles, CA.  Mr. Cavanaugh accepted the petitions.

For two years we (Raise the Bar, Hershey Coalition) have called on The Hershey Company’s executives and board to take meaningful action to prevent child labor throughout their supply chain. With little progress, we have taken it up a notch.  The Hershey Trust is in charge of the Hershey school, controls approximately eighty percent of the voting shares of The Hershey Company, and holds several seats on the company’s board of directors.

More on this:

In Jasper’s own words:Mr. Hershey established the Milton Hershey School and School Trust to provide full-time education and care for disadvantaged children. As the majority stockholder of Hershey’s Chocolate Company, the Hershey Trust also needs to do more to take care of the children in West African it’s exploiting for profit.

The actions today were coordinated by 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 who voiced their concerns to Hershey about the company’s child labor practices.

Raise the Bar, Hershey! is led by the following organizations: Global Exchange, Green America, International Labor Rights Forum and Labor Religion Coalition of New York State.

Take Action!

  • Sign the petition: It’s not too late to sign Jasper’s Petition. Have a happy and just Valentines Day!
  • Check out the Valentines: Visit our Facebook page to see some of the Valentines that were dropped off to Hershey today, and a few photos as well



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;

Our partner organizations that helped with outreach:
Fair Trade Resource Network
Fair Trade Towns USA
Green America
International Labor Rights Forum
Jeannette Rankin Peace Center
Labor-Religion Coalition of New York State
• Terra
Unitarian Universalist Service Committee
• Our team of volunteers that came in to help stuff the kits, including the Global Exchange staff!

Reverse Trick-Or-Treating was featured in USA Today and the Boston Herald. And Holistic Moms featured RTT on their blog.

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!

A special shout out also goes out to Amber Bruce and her super hero kids for submitting their photo.

In other Fair Trade chocolate news, our Raise the Bar, Hershey campaign partner, Green America traveled to Hershey, Pennsylvania to present the more than 100,000 petition signatures to Hershey management demanding a fair deal for workers.

Time for another Fair Trade Roundup…your healthy dose of Fair Trade news.


Last week the Raise the Bar Hershey campaign urged consumers to take action on Hershey’s Facebook page to support the campaign that is calling on Hershey to go Fair Trade. As the Raise the Bar Hershey Campaign explains:

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.


Check out the report pdfs here:


WPRI Eyewitness News had an interesting segment about Fair Trade. They did their best to inform consumers about the complexities of Fair Trade product labeling. You can watch it here:


Fair Trade updates, filled with celebrity news, product launches, and industry developments. It’s Fair Trade Roundup time!

A new line of ethically designed shoes made in a worker-owned factory in Buenos Aires, Argentina was just introduced to the Global Exchange Store in San Francisco. The ethical soles Pauline by Ethical World are made of cotton canvas on the outside, the insoles of folded cotton linen and original patterned fabrics. Each pair comes inside a small bag to match. Yours for the reasonable price of $58 or two pair for $98. Color choices? Chile pepper red, Caribbean green, and gray.

Like other co-ops who are part of the larger “recovered factories movement” the members of the co-op where these shoes are made were expelled from their factory when the local economy went bust back in 2001, and many factory owners shuttered their businesses. As desperation grew, some impoverished workers broke back into their former work places, got the machinery up and running, operating the businesses again under a democratic management scheme. More than 200 companies have been “recovered” by workers and become cooperatives.

Paula Surraco, a designer who has worked with the co-op for five years, shared his thoughts about the shoes:

“In Buenos Aires, everyone wears espadrilles! They are comfortable, casual, and fun. Our shoes are designed and made with the utmost attention to detail, with each stitch and fold handcrafted by artisans. When you buy these shoes, you are empowering the workers to forge their own economic lives, building a factory and a business they own and providing them with dignified labor and fair salaries and conditions. These products represent a revolution in the apparel industry.”

Jocelyn Boreta, buyer at Global Exchange’s Noe Valley store, was eager to offer them to customers because she feels there is a dearth of good Fair Trade shoes in the marketplace.

These shoes are practical and playful and represent the real people powered production that we celebrate at the Global Exchange Fair Trade Stores. It is extremely hard to find beautiful, well-made fair trade shoes in the US. We are certain our fair trade shoppers will appreciate them.”

To find out more about the Reclaimed Factories Movement: Watch The Take, a compelling documentary produced by Naomi Klein and husband Avi Lewis.

To Purchase a Pair: Grab yours at the Global Exchange Fair Trade Store in San Francisco, CA .
Where: 4018 24th Street, San Francisco CA
Questions: call 415-255-7296 or email Jocelyn Boreta Jocelyn@globalexchange.org


Join activists nationwide placing s’more-tastic child labor consumer alert cards on Hershey chocolate bars in stores, videotaping the action, and sending it to friends.

This action is one of the early uses of Quick Response (QR) codes for social justice actions! People who see the consumer alerts will be able to take action right away by reading the QR code with their smartphones.

Actions are happening all summer!

To take part in this action: Get your ideas flowing. Watch this video of some folks taking part in the action:

Ready to Get Started? Everything you need to do your own action is available right here on the Raise the Bar Hershey website.

Gretchen Jones sporting one of her necklaces Photo Credit: www.portlandmonthlymag.com

Gretchen Jones, the big Season 8 winner of the hit reality television show Project Runway, recently launched a socially responsible jewelry line on Piperlime.

The line features pieces of metal transformed into aesthetically interesting shapes, a little bit modern and little bit vintage that ends up looking a whole lot cool.

To produce this collection, Gretchen collaborated with Aid to Artisans, an organization promoting international development, with designers collaborating with artisan groups to craft award winning products. Each piece in this collection was handcrafted by local artisans in Columbia. Jones visited the country in May to meet the producers.

Eden Dawn, who writes for Portland Monthly, caught up with Gretchen Jones who had this to share about her new collection:

I chose to work with Aid to Artisans, as it sets an example how we all can come together and consciously create beautiful work while helping others. Sustainability within humanitarian endeavors has economic relevance…its doesn’t always have to be about the materials alone, but the shared experience.  Supporting crafts people across the globe makes me feel good about the work I do and proud of what can be attained when broadening your [our] horizons.

You can view the entire collection (and see a video of Gretchen’s visit to Columbia) on  Piperlime.com/GretchenJones. Just remember, not everything on this site is Fair Trade, so if you’re going to shop responsibly, do your reading first.


THE SACREMENTO BEE: Dr. Bronner’s to U.S. Congress: Regulate Unsafe Cosmetics!
Professional Jeweler: What will Fairtrade gold mean for the industry?
Commodity Online: Gold free of guilt: What Fairtrade Certification can do
The co-operative magazine: Emma Watson’s teacher inspired fairtrade fashion
World Fair Trade Organization: 10 Principles of Fair Trade
Fair Trade USA: Celebrating the African Women of Fair Trade
Gifts and Tablewares: Chicago Market to Feature Fair Trade Federation Pavilion

Got interesting Fair Trade news to share? Email me or share it in the comments section. We’re all ears!

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:

  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 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.
  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 fairtrade@globalexchange.org, 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.

We recently shared a quick report back from last week’s Hershey rally in Times Square in a blog post full of links to photos and quotes from the energizing day.

Now we want you to see for yourself what an extraordinary sight it was, with 2-300 people, mostly K-12 students, standing up for the rights of youth on the other side of the globe. It was a profoundly embarrassing moment for Hershey, when hundreds of youth – the demographic that much of the company’s products and merchandising caters to – came to Hershey’s own front doorstep carrying signs, shouting chants, and calling Hershey out in public for using child labor in the cocoa fields.

Check out the incredible youth energy on this 15-second video, + more at http://www.youtube.com/raisethebarhershey.

The rally was an extraordinary success. First to arrive at the scene were 5th grade students from Manhattan’s Lower East Side. Fired up and ready to go, these 11-year-olds grabbed hold of the megaphone, initiating the chanting and marching outside the Hershey Store for the next few hours. Moments later, students from New York and New Jersey high schools arrived and began chanting and dancing along the streets, calling on Hershey to go Fair Trade.

Photo Credit: Diane Lent

Members of the coordinating organizations and a countless number of the thousands of locals and tourists that constantly throng Times Square joined the protest, grabbed signs to enthusiastically hold high, picked up informational flyers, signed petitions, and participated in the call-in action to Hershey. The turnout to hold Hershey accountable for failure to eliminate child labor from its supply chain was so huge that there wasn’t enough space in front of the Hershey Store and we completely filled the sidewalks on both sides of the street as well as the adjacent loading zone, but that only made our chants louder! Anyone who drove between the two massive groups on Broadway, the major thoroughfare through Times Square, heard our cries for justice reverberating in their cars.

I was the Master of Ceremonies and  speakers included 11-year-old Marie Hogan, Global Exchange’s San Francisco Sweet Smarts chapter leader, and Neil Rathan, an NYC teacher whose use of Global Exchange’s Fair Trade unit inspired his students to launch Children Against Chocolate Aided Oppression (which challenges forced and child labor in the cocoa industry and promotes Fair Trade). The band Left on Red, the Raging Grannies, and New Jersey’s St. Benedictine Academy also performed songs and slam poetry.

Another amazing speaker in attendance was human rights advocate, Kerry Kennedy as she addressed the crowd and repeated what we all know: “There’s nothing sweet about child labor.” Watch the video of her speaking for yourself and do us a favor and stand up with the youth by spreading this video around to your networks and spreading the word about Fair Trade.

Only you can ensure that the message of these youth reaches out across the internet, educating millions of people and resulting in real change.

Share it on Facebook and send out a tweet about it:

“Must-see rally video: “Nothing sweet about child labor.”- Kerry Kennedy & youth @ NYC Hershey store http://bit.ly/mEpKPW #HersheyGoFair RT

Let’s show Hershey that we will not back down. We will continue to urge Hershey and other chocolate companies to end their abuses in the cocoa industry.

Thanks and congratulations to each of you who helped make the rally a success, whether you came to the rally, forwarded an invitation to folks in New York (MANY participants heard about the rally through your forwarded emails, Facebook, etc), participated in the call-in action, etc. Your dedication to the Raise the Bar Hershey Campaign is an inspiration to us all.

The chant at the end? “Hershey, make your chocolate fair, or we’ll be back here in Times Square.”

Got $5 to spare? Make a contribution for the next rally!