Tim Newman, Campaigns Director, International Labor Rights Forum
Since the post I wrote on this blog on Monday about the continued use of child labor in the chocolate industry, there have been some interesting developments in the chocolate industry.
First off, TransFair USA and Green & Black's announced this week that the organic chocolate company would shift to Fair Trade Certified cocoa for its entire product line, including for the US market. The company plans to certify 100% of its cocoa by the end of this year. The company expects that its' "commitment will mean an investment of more than $485,000 each year over the next 10 years through additional Fair Trade premiums paid to Dominican Republic cocoa farmers and their communities." This is an exciting development and we're looking forward to seeing Green & Black's chocolate with the Fair Trade Certified label soon!
It's also interesting to note that Green & Black's is owned by Cadbury and it seems almost certain at this point that Kraft will be taking over Cadbury very soon. Many people have been concerned about what will happen to Cadbury's Fair Trade cocoa sourcing once the deal goes through because Kraft does not have the same level of commitment to Fair Trade Certified cocoa. However, Kraft has stated that they expect to honor Cadbury's practices. We hope that Green & Black's, as well as Cadbury, will be able to maintain -- and increase -- their investment in Fair Trade and socially and environmentally sustainable cocoa production in the future.
Speaking of Cadbury... Cadbury products in the US (not including Green & Black's) are licensed to be produced by Hershey. Unfortunately, Hershey has been lagging behind its competitors in supporting sustainable cocoa growing and has not agreed to any programs to trace its cocoa supply chain and institute labor standards for suppliers. That's why it was disappointing to see that pop star Ashlee Simpson was out promoting new Hershey products in New York City this past week. We hope that Ashlee, who has been supportive of other efforts to support children globally, will take this opportunity to push Hershey to do more to stop child and trafficked labor in their cocoa supply chain.