Tim Newman, Campaigns Director, International Labor Rights Forum
All across the US, people will be spending millions of dollars this week on chocolate for their sweethearts for Valentine's Day. But as readers of this blog know, child labor, forced labor and trafficking continue in the cocoa industry in West Africa. Keep reading to find out the latest resources, updates and information you need to show your love for that someone special AND workers around the world!
Chocolate Company Ratings
We get a lot of inquiries about specific chocolate companies and their policies on child labor. Now there is one website where you can go to find out how your favorite chocolate companies rate on their policies related to forced and child labor. Check out the ratings on Free2Work.org, ILRF's collaborative website with the Not For Sale Campaign, online here.
ILRF has launched a new e-mail campaign focused on Hershey -- click here to send your e-mail!
Hershey is one of the largest chocolate companies in the US, but it has not agreed to institute any certification programs to ensure that abuses like child labor, forced labor and trafficking do not occur in the production of the cocoa it uses.
Here in the US, Hershey has been shifting production away from unionized facilities. Recently, a worker died at a Hershey supplier in Pennsylvania. Hershey's suppliers often do not have the same level of safety standards and the workforce is often temporary workers who do not have the same safety training, benefits and union protection that help to keep workers safe and their rights protected. Read this excellent recent American Prospect article for more information.
While the company recently announced it would be increasing its spending on advertising this year by 30%, we have to wonder if Hershey has a heart for its workers. Given all of these labor problems, please join us the Valentine's Day in asking Hershey a simple question: How does Hershey monitor its global supply chain to ensure that worker rights are protected? Click here to send your e-mail.
You can take action on Twitter by posting this tweet: "@hersheycareers #Hershey Have a heart for workers: Monitor your entire supply chain for labor rights! http://3bl.me/y9qrbz"
You can take action on Facebook by posting this message to Hershey's fan page: "Have a heart for workers: Monitor your entire supply chain for labor rights! http://www.unionvoice.org/campaign/Hershey"
You can also join our friends at Oasis USA in thanking Green & Black's on committing to sourcing Fair Trade Certified cocoa for its entire product line online here.
Kraft and Cadbury
The big news in the chocolate industry recently has been Kraft's successful bid to take over Cadbury. The deal was controversial because Cadbury has been a leader in committing to working with cocoa farmers and supporting Fair Trade while Kraft works with Rainforest Alliance. Additionally, workers in England have feared that the takeover would lead to factory closings in Cadbury's home country. Unfortunately, things seem to be getting off to an early bad start as Kraft has announced that it would be closing a plant in Somerdale that Kraft had promised to keep opening during the takeover negotiations. ILRF believes that worker rights must be protected at every level of chocolate production from bean to bar and we are concerned about how all workers will be affected by consolidation in the chocolate industry.
You can take action on Change.org to remind Kraft that they should support Cadbury's Fair Trade commitments.
Other Industry Updates
Chocolate and Haiti Relief
If you are still looking for a sweet treat for your loved on, consider Sweet Earth Organic Chocolate's Haiti Relief Bar. Sweet Earth uses organic and Fair Trade certified cocoa beans and $1 from each sale of this new bar will go to Partners in Health to support their relief efforts in Haiti.