By Elizabeth O'Connell, Fair Trade Campaigns Director, Green America
Yesterday was a day that I have been looking forward to for a long time. It was the day we finally got to deliver all 100,000 petitions that the Raise the Bar, Hershey! campaign has collected to their intended recipient: John Bilbrey, CEO of Hershey.
We have been collecting petitions for just over a year. Signers are calling on the Hershey Company to remove forced labor, child labor, and human trafficking from its chocolate bars. In partnership with Global Exchange, the International Labor Rights Forum, the Not for Sale Campaign, the New York State Labor Religion Coalition, and countless schools and congregations, we gathered more than 50,000 signatures. Then last month we teamed up with Change.org, an online platform for social change, to collect another 50,000 signers to our online petition. (This platform also sends automatic emails to Hershey executives, board members, and members of the Corporate Social Responsibility team. If you haven’t signed yet, it’s not too late!)
So, with heavy boxes of signatures in hand, and dressed in our most appropriate Halloween costumes, (I went as a member of a Child Labor Hazard Squad) we headed north up to Hershey, PA.
Before we even reached the front door of Hershey’s Corporate Headquarters, we were approached by two men who must have been part of Hershey’s security team. They were ready for us and seemed pretty nervous about what we had brought for them. (This campaign is having an impact!)