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.

This week marks the 10-year anniversary of the signing of the Harkin-Engel Protocol – an agreement by the country’s largest chocolate companies, including Hershey’s, committing to put an end to forced child labor on cocoa farms in West Africa by 2005. The Protocol pledged to develop and implement voluntary standards to certify cocoa produced without the “worst forms of child labor,” (defined according to the International Labor Organization’s Convention 182).

Ten years later, no progress has been made. Last week Global Exchange, Green America and ILRF (International Labor Rights Forum) released a report targeting Hershey’s titled ‘Time to Raise the Bar, Hershey!’ which details how hundreds of thousands of children are still forced to work under abusive conditions for long hours on cocoa farms in West Africa, while others are victims of trafficking and forced labor, all for a Hershey bar. The documentary, The Dark Side of Chocolate is a great resource to learn more.

Like many issues involving human rights abuses today, it is not the corporations who are profiting from the unjust practices that are taking a stand to put an end to them – it is the people that are rising up to create change by calling for an end to the abuses.

This is the kind of action that we have seen emerge through the Fair Trade movement, particularly through advocating for consumers to buy Fair Trade chocolate instead of chocolate tainted with child labor.

As we approach one of the most popular holidays for chocolate consumption, Halloween, there is a great way that children and families can help end child labor in the cocoa industry and promote Fair Trade – by participating in Reverse Trick-Or-Treating!

Reverse Trick-Or-Treating 2011For the fifth year in a row, 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 forced child labor will not be tolerated by our kids.

Global Exchange is launching the campaign in cooperation with Fair Trade companies Equal Exchange, Sweet Earth chocolate, and Coco-Zen. It is a collaborative effort of countless children, youth, and adults supported by institutions including nonprofit organizations, faith-based organizations, Fair Trade companies, and schools.

Our partners at Equal Exchange sum up the main idea behind Reverse Trick-Or-Treating beautifully:

‘The inspiration for Reverse Trick-or-Treating rests on the belief that the simple act of one person saying to another “There’s a problem. There’s a solution. Let’s do something” can be very powerful. And if a child says this to an adult – it’s doubly powerful. Further, we believe that such acts will demonstrate to the large corporations, and to public officials, that people are paying attention, people care, and they want action”

If enough people take a stand, on Halloween and throughout the year, to organize and educate others in their community about the reality of forced child labor and the importance of Fair Trade as a tool for combating it, we might actually have something to celebrate on the next anniversary of the Harkin-Engels Protocol.

  • Questions? Contact Kylie Nealis, Reverse Trick-Or-Treating Coordinator at Global Exchange by e-mail: or by phone, (415) 575-5551

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!

This is Part 5 in an 8-Part “Giving Thanks” series, a Global Exchange exclusive highlighting individuals (chosen by Global Exchange staff members) who are contributing to our social justice work in some way. This series will culminate with a “Giving Thanks” video to be launched right here on Wednesday, November 24th. So please join us in recognizing those special individuals who are helping to make this world a better place.

Global Exchange Fair Trade Campaign Director Adrienne Fitch-Frankel thanks Equal Exchange

Equal Exchange is a worker-owned co-op whose mission is to build long-term trade partnerships that are economically just and environmentally sound, to foster mutually beneficial relationships between farmers and consumers and to demonstrate, through their success, the contribution of worker co-operatives and Fair Trade to a more equitable, democratic and sustainable world.

I am a believer in old-fashioned, person-to-person organizing.  And I am a big believer in door knocking.  It is one of the actions we can take that is at the heart of our democracy.  When people created this crazy dream of democracy, they didn’t have the internet.  They talked to their neighbors in person.  It was the most powerful act you could take then, and it is the most powerful act you can take today.  But it is also a rare act today.  People do not know their neighbors.  People are even afraid of their neighbors.

Reverse Trick-orTreater in action

Soon after I started working as Global Exchange’s Fair Trade Campaign Director, I had this idea.  What is the one time of year when people will still knock on their neighbors’ doors, when they could take social justice action without adding anything to their busy schedules?  Halloween!  What if we could take that day each year to raise awareness of child labor and slavery in the cocoa industry?  We would call it Reverse Trick-or-Treating.  I imagined children all over the country handing flyers and chocolate samples out to thousands of households, but I did not believe we would ever get the funding to support that dream.

Reverse Trick-or- Treat cards

A few days after I made an off-hand comment about the Reverse Trick-or-Treating idea during a conference call on a different topic, Rodney North of the food cooperative Equal Exchange called me up and offered exactly the thing I had dreamed of.  “How would you like to do Reverse Trick-or-Treating chocolate-enhanced?” he asked me, offering a massive donation of Fair Trade chocolate and beautiful, glossy cards for children to hand out, as well as support in inviting other Fair Trade chocolate companies to donate as well. The rest is history!

Over the past 4 Halloweens, since we launched the program together with Equal Exchange and dozens of other leading organizations and Fair Trade chocolate companies, schools and congregations, Fair Trade Coalitions, and individual families…tens of thousands of children, youth, and adults from all 50 states in the US and all provinces in Canada have participated in Reverse Trick or Treating, handing out chocolates and informational cards to over 600,000 households, and reaching millions more indirectly through the tremendous media coverage that has been generated.

Equal Exchange cooperative members

The significance of Reverse Trick-or-Treating is absolutely extraordinary. The annual event has captured the imagination of and invigorated the Fair Trade movement, from the smallest to the largest Fair Trade organizations in the country.  Reverse Trick-or-Treating has taught tens of thousands of young children at a formative age that taking action for social justice is deeply gratifying, fun, and easy.  These active kids have reached out to hundreds of thousands of households that may have never otherwise heard about the tragedy of child labor and slavery in the cocoa industry, or about Fair Trade, which prohibits these practices. Hopefully Reverse Trick-or-Treating has made a difference for millions of children and families in cocoa growing communities around the world.

I am sure that I speak for everyone at Global Exchange and all the organizations and individuals that participate in Reverse Trick-or-Treating when I send our most heartfelt thanks to everyone at Equal Exchange – most importantly, my friend and collaborator Rodney North, as well as Dia Cheney and Kelsie Evans who have helped to run the program, and all of the worker-owners of the Equal Exchange cooperative who have donated to this program, for their tremendous vision in bringing Reverse Trick-or-Treating to life and generosity in donating the vast majority of the chocolate and cards and the logistical support to distribute them.  Reverse Trick-or-Treating would never have been the extraordinary success it is today if it had not been “chocolate-enhanced” under the leadership of Equal Exchange.

So thank you Rodney, Dia Kelsie and the entire Equal Exchange cooperative crew!

Equal Exchange and Global Exchange work together in other ways too. Global Exchange Fair Trade stores proudly offer lots of Equal Exchange Fair Trade chocolate, coffee and more, and Equal Exchange has participated in Fair Trade holiday caroling.

Who are YOU thankful for? Add your own thank you message in the Comments section to recognize someone you think is doing great social justice work. And if you feel so inspired, Retweet and Share this post to help spread the recognition all of our ‘Thankees’ deserve. Thank YOU.

Global Exchange’s Sweet Smarts campaign teaches advocacy skills to kids and youth whose outreach educates communities about Fair Trade. With the official campaign officially kicking off just a few months ago, San Francisco’s chapter leader, 10 year old Marie Hogan is already drawing a crowd.

Reverse Trick-or-Treating

At this fall’s Green Festival in San Francisco, Marie addressed an attentive crowd as she exposed the dark side of chocolate and explained what Fair Trade is doing to fix it, “one bite of chocolate at a time.” She relayed her experience of participating in the Sweet Smarts program and advocated for ways that everyone could get involved in the Fair Trade movement. From tabling, getting Fair trade in supermarkets, to Reverse Trick-or-Treating, Marie has educated her community about the appalling child trafficking and slavery on cocoa farms and how Fair Trade prohibits these practices.

Watch a clip of her presentation at the Green Festival and hear her urge the crowd about the necessity of Fair Trade to end child labor in the cocoa industry and for everyone – especially the youth – to get involved, because it’s not about kids helping kids, it’s about kids fighting for kids.

Sweet Smarts Captain Marie Hogan Presents at Green Festival 2010 from Global Exchange on Vimeo.

Find out how you can start your own Sweet Smarts chapter in your community. Get started with your first event by hosting a screening of the latest documentary, The Dark Side of Chocolate.

Is any else as excited for Halloween as I am? Great excuse to dress up and pass out Fair Trade chocolate.

This year, we are happy to share that this year, tens of thousands of kids and adults will hand out Reverse Trick-or-Treating kits to 100,000 households in 49 states and the District of Columbia in the US and all over Canada this year! Yes! If you didn’t order an RTT kit this year, you can still get involved by passing out Reverse Trick-or-Treating and Raise the Hershey bar fliers.

You can also help spread awareness about child labor in the cocoa industry by hosting a screening of newly released documentary, The Dark Side of Chocolate.

Other ways to get involved with Halloween this weekend:

  • Make an ad on Reese’s website raising awareness about forced and child labor in Hershey’s cocoa, and send it to all your friends.  If you make the ad by Monday, November 1 and CC it to, Green America will send the best ads to Hershey.
  • According to his Facebook page, Stephen Colbert’s “March to Keep Fear Alive” is sponsored by Reese’s (owned by Hershey)!  For children in West Africa, Hershey’s/Reese’s are indeed keeping fear alive…the childrens’ fear of being trafficked into forced labor in the cocoa fields that grow cocoa for chocolate bars sold in the US.  There is a lot of buzz nationwide about this march, on Halloween eve…join the Raise the Bar Campaign in helping use that buzz to hold Hershey accountable.  If you have a Facebook account, leave a message on the wall of Stephen Colbert, the Colbert Report, and the March to Keep Fear Alive, as well as the Daily Show, raising awareness of the connection between Reese’s and child labor.  If you use Twitter, here are some suggested tweets:
  • @StephenAtHome the only thing scarier the #march4fear is the use of #ChildLabor in the production of #Reeses
  • @StephenAtHome #Reeses does have something to hide and it is scarier than peanuts: #ChildLabor
  • @ColbertReport #Reeses may contain dairy, peanuts and #ChildLabor.

Most importantly, have a safe and happy Halloween this weekend everyone!

Almost Gone! The deadline to order your FREE Reverse Trick-or-Treating Kit has been extended to Wednesday October 13th, so spread the good news to all your last minute ordering friends and family…it’s not too late to order your FREE kits for Halloween.

This is your chance to do some good this Halloween by helping to spread the word about Fair Trade. And let’s face it, you can’t beat free when it comes to Fair Trade chocolate:)

GOT KIDS?  KNOW KIDS?  Order your Reverse Trick-or-Treating Kit Today

What is Reverse Trick-or-Treating? Children of all ages (+ high school/college students/adults) give chocolate back to adults at each house they visit on Halloween during their regular trick-or-treating rounds through their neighborhoods, or at an equivalent community event.

What’s in the Kit? Fair Trade chocolate attached to an informational card about the problems in the cocoa industry, (such as child slavery, environmental degradation, and poverty) and how Fair Trade provides a solution.

With your help, we will reach a quarter million households in the US and Canada with this important informational message!

Remember, the deadline to order is Wednesday, October 13th for both organizations and individuals, so spread the word

Kits for individuals are FREE and include 15-20 Fair Trade chocolate minis and informational cards. Kits for organizations are $24 per box of 150 minis and cards (maximum 2 boxes per organization).

Request your kits TODAY. 

Oh, and if you’re looking to purchase trick-or-treating chocolate to distribute from your doorstep, visit Global Exchange’s Online Fair Trade Store.

Have a boo-ti-ful Halloween, from all of us here at Global Exchange!

Every day this October FairTradeUSA will be highlighting several of the great companies that bring Fair Trade products to your grocer’s shelves, as well some of the international organizations that work closely with Fair Trade on the ground. Today is Global Exchange’s day! Stay tuned to the FairTradeUSA blog, Facebook page and Twitter page to see how you can enter to win a bag of Global Exchange label Thanksgiving Fair Trade coffee!

Cross-posted from the FairTradeUSA blog:

October is Fair Trade Month and Global Exchange wants you to get involved. It’s a month when we can celebrate the power that the Fair Trade movement has had around the world, linking you the consumer to the producer and their community. Throughout the years, Global Exchange has highlighted the importance of building the Fair Trade movement by making people-to-people ties in communities locally and globally.

This Halloween, get out your Fair Trade banana costume and participate in Reverse-Trick-or-Treating. The goal is for trick-or-treaters to switch it up and go door to door passing out informational cards attached with Fair Trade chocolate to raise awareness in their communities about poverty alleviation and economic justice for cocoa farmers around the world. Hear (and see) what last year’s participants had to say about this fun and creative action.

Can’t wait until the end of the month to help build the Fair Trade movement? Throughout October, you can participate in Global Exchange’s scavenger hunt which will bring you from the supermarket to the classroom and even to your Congressperson to promote an economic system that is better for workers and the planet. One clue will bring you to Global Exchange’s Fair Trade stores, where you will learn more about the producer groups we work with. One group of artisans we recently connected with in Rajasthan, India has been using an ancient technique of mud-block-printing to preserve a practice that is slowly disappearing while employing both men and women and strengthening the community.

Besides the incentive of spreading the Fair Trade word, participating in our scavenger hunt will make you eligible to win up to $200 in Fair Trade prizes. Build the movement and win.

With October well underway, it is time to reflect on the reasons behind making our purchases matter. With over 2.6 billion people in the world living in poverty, Fair Trade makes a difference in the lives of farmers, women and the environment. But only if people know about it.  Only 30% of Americans know what Fair Trade is—and we need your help to grow the movement this month. Join Global Exchange, Fair Trade USA and hundreds of other organizations and advocates out there to create a system of fairness, equality and sustainability.

Get more information of Global Exchange’s Fair Trade campaign:
Pick coffee in Nicaragua, chocolate in the Dominican Republic, tea in Nepal or olives in Palestine on a Reality Tours Fair Trade delegation.
Visit our Fair Trade stores.
And of course, read our Fair Trade blog for the latest news and views of the movement.

This morning as I sat down at my desk, I flipped the page of my Fair Trade calendar and was greeted with a Happy Fair Trade Month! Every year, October is designated as Fair Trade Month where we come together to spread the world about how Fair Trade is benefiting small-scale producers and artisans and why Fair Trade matters to us all.

FairTradeUSA (formerly TransFairUSA) has set up the Fair Trade Month website where you can find out about Fair Trade events taking place all month, hear from farmers and workers around the world, and find fun and creative ways to get involved and build the Fair Trade movement in your own town and all over.

FairTradeUSA CEO, Paul Rice talking to the crowd.

A few nights ago, yours truly spent the evening with the FairTradeUSA crew in San Francisco at their Fair Trade Month kick-off party. The event was filled with fellow Fair Traders, delicious treats ranging from delicious truffles from CocoZen, hummus made with La Yapa Quinoa, AlterEco chocolate and then some. Yours truly also was the lucky winner of the raffle going home with a bottle of vodka made from Fair Trade quinoa. Win! It was a truly Fair Trade event even with a Fair Trade DJ with Corinne from Global Exchange’s San Francisco Store on the ones and twos. Great event.

Fair Trade win!

Happy Fair Trade Month everyone from Global Exchange! Get involved and take action all month long. Start with signing up for Reverse Trick-or-Treating! Then register your Fair Trade Month event. I will use this weekend to enjoy my Fair Trade prizes from the other night. Happy weekend all.