Tim Newman, Campaigns Director, International Labor Rights Forum
Every year, the Business Ethics Network (BEN) honors corporate campaigns that have made significant achievements. BEN is the largest network in the US of non-profit marketplace advocacy activists and organizations. Campaigns are nominated by BEN member organizations and winners are selected by an Awards Committee. The awards are in two major categories: 1) The BENNY for campaigns that have achieved a major victory and 2) The Path to Victory for campaigns that have made significant progress and show strong potential for achieving their goals.
This year, the International Labor Rights Forum's campaign to stop child labor in the cocoa industry won first place in the Path to Victory category. Along with campaign partners, Global Exchange, Green America and Oasis USA, the campaign has raised significant awareness about labor rights abuses in West Africa's cocoa industry and highlighted the responsibility of companies to trace their cocoa supply chains and institute labor standards among their suppliers. In the last year, many chocolate companies have made significant announcements to certify that their cocoa is produce under certain labor conditions, but Hershey has lag behind all of its competitors. That is why the campaign is now focusing on Hershey and encouraging this company to raise the bar for the industry by supporting Fair Trade Certified cocoa. Check out this ILRF report on Hershey for more background.
The push for Hershey to support Fair Trade has been made even stronger by other recent company announcement to support certified chocolate. This week, major Australian company Arnott's has agreed to begin using Fair Trade Certified cocoa in its products. Nestle also announced that it would certify its Kit Kat bars in Australia with UTZ Certified, a program that is viewed by many labor advocates as weaker than Fair Trade. Nestle Kit Kats are already certified Fair Trade in the UK, although Hershey produces Kit Kat bars for the US market. Hershey could keep up the momentum by sourcing Fair Trade Certified cocoa for Kit Kats in the US.
You can support the Hershey campaign by:
- Collecting petitions in your community;
- Signing this e-mail petition to Hershey on Change.org;
- Hosting a screening of The Dark Side of Chocolate in your community.
Let's work together to bring the Hershey campaign farther down the Path to Victory!