Mitch Ellmauer, Intern, International Labor Rights Forum
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part Two is set to be released this Friday. Harry Potter fans all over the country are not just lining up at the box office, they are also lining up behind fair trade chocolate.
The Harry Potter Alliance, an organization that encourages fans to fight for social justice, has teamed up the International Labor Rights Forum in calling for Warner Brothers to ensure that all Harry Potter-themed chocolate is Fair Trade Certified. Check out our press release here.
Child labor, forced labor and trafficking are widespread in West Africa's cocoa industry. The US Department of Labor has included cocoa from Cameroon, Cote d'Ivoire, Ghana, Guinea and Nigeria on its List of Goods Produced by Child Labor and Forced Labor. Many companies are starting to commit to using cocoa that has been certified by independent third parties to comply with international labor rights standards, but according to analysis from Free2Work, the supplier of Harry Potter chocolate does not do much to ensure that its chocolate is not tainted by labor exploitation.
“The cocoa industry’s connection to child labor is in direct contradiction… to the morals and messages within Harry Potter and the Harry Potter brand,” said. Andrew Slack, Executive director of the Harry Potter Alliance.
The Harry Potter Alliance first brought the issue to Warner Brothers’ attention last November. Warner Brothers’ ethical sourcing policy explicitly prohibits the company from doing business with companies use child labor and other unfair labor practices. The Harry potter Alliance presented Warner Brothers with evidence detailing its chocolate suppliers' lack of policies to revent labor rights abuses in its cocoa, but Warner Brothers remains noncommittal.
Demand for ethical licensing of the Harry Potter brand has been growing among its fans; more than 15,000 fans signed a petition calling for Harry Potter brand chocolate to be made using Fair Trad Certified cocoa.
Even some of the movie’s actors have taken up the cause.
“As an actor in the Harry Potter films and as a lifelong fan of the Harry Potter series, it would give me great satisfaction to know that chocolate sold in Harry’s name is consistent with the values in Harry Potter,” Evanna Lynch, who plays Luna Lovegood in the new movie, recently told her fans. “If we do not act in a way that is moral toward cocoa farmers now by ensuring that chocolate is fair trade, we will all pay a price in the future.”
You can send an e-mail to Warner Brothers through the Harry Potter Alliance online here.