Monday, July 27, 2009

Call Hershey to ask for more Fair Trade Certified Chocolate In the Us

Action: Call Hershey to ask for more Fair Trade Certified™ chocolate in the US

Earlier this spring, Green Business Network told its members how Cadbury is taking steps to bring more Fair Trade chocolate to Europe via its popular Dairy Milk bar. But there's still no conventional US chocolate company that is stepping up to make Fair Trade Certified™ chocolate widely available on US supermarket shelves.


Green America Business Network members have led the way (companies like Divine, Equal Exchange, Ithaca Fine Chocolates, Sweet Earth Organics, and Theo Chocolates), and it's time for the conventional companies to follow. Hershey needs to take a stand against abusive child labor in the cocoa supply chain, and the best way to do that is to go Fair Trade.

Why Hershey?

* For years, major chocolate companies have known that the worst forms of child labor and trafficked labor are used in the production of the cocoa beans they purchase from West Africa, particularly Cote d’Ivoire. Many companies use third-party certification programs in order to ensure that certain labor and environmental standards are met in the production of the cocoa they use in their chocolate. There are a number of certification programs related to cocoa production and many of them involve labels that communicate to consumers what standards were used in the production of the cocoa they are about to enjoy.

* This past March, Cadbury announced that it would achieve Fair Trade certification for its Dairy Milk bar (the top selling chocolate bar in the UK) in England and Ireland by the end of this summer, with plans to expand Fair Trade cocoa further in their product line.

* Major chocolate companies like Mars, Cargill, Heinz, Kraft and Starbucks have all agreed to various certification programs for their cocoa. While some of these programs do include labor rights standards, they are not as strong and comprehensive as they need to be to ensure workers’ rights are protected. They also do not address the problem of the low prices paid to cocoa farmers for their beans – a critical component of why child labor persists in this sector.
* Fair Trade certification ensures that farmers are both able to meet the basic needs of their families and to continue to grow cocoa in the future by offering a fair price for cocoa. Fair Trade provides a path for farmers to increase their livelihoods and improve labor and environmental conditions in cocoa production. Fair Trade also has additional benefits like encouraging the development of democratic cooperatives where farmers have a greater voice in the market.

* On the other hand, Hershey has not agreed to any third-party certification programs for their cocoa supply. Additionally, Hershey owns the license to produce Cadbury products in the US. Hershey is well placed to be a leader in Fair Trade cocoa sourcing for US consumers, but they need to know that we want our chocolate to be Fair Trade Certified™! More on website.


When you call Hershey today, you'll be joining with Fair Trade supporters across the country who want to see US chocolate companies upholding a higher standard for their supply chains. (If you place a call, please e-mail us later and let us know how it went.)

Find phone numbers and a sample calling script "
Find Fair Trade chocolate companies (and other retailers) in our business network to support "
Download or order our Fair Trade Guide "

3 comments:

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EndangeredSpeciesChocolate said...

Great article! We need more companies to start taking an active role in the Fairtrade movement. The best way to check if a company is fairly traded is to look for a Transfair Fairtrade Certification. However, not all companies that have ethical trading policies go through Transfair or any other certification process. We here at Endangered Species Chocolate wanted to take a more active role in improving the lives of our farmers and their families. All of our cocoa beans are sourced from small family-owned farms, which ensures us that the workers (usually family members) are humanly treated and receive fair wages. We have also installed numerous water pumps and filtration systems as well as donated school and medical supplies. We think Transfair is a great way for consumers to easily check if a product is fairly traded or not, but we wanted to see where our dollars were going. We must all remember that in addition to call, writing, emailing, we have a vote with every dollar we spend and we can put an end to non-fairly traded products by not supporting them economically. If you would like more information on ESC's ethical trade policy or our annual 10% donation to organizations that support species, habitat and humanity visit us at www.chocolatebar.com or email us at community@chocolatebar.com As always...Savor Chocolate. Save Our Planet.

Kyle
Endangered Species Chocolate