Submitted by: Green America
Posted: Mar 29, 2012 – 01:45 PM EST
WASHINGTON, Mar. 29 /CSRwire/ - The Raise the Bar, Hershey! coalition, which has generated over 100,000 letters urging The Hershey Company (NYSE: HSY) to commit to buying cocoa produced without forced child labor, launched an Easter petition drive today getting thousands to tell Hershey and Cadbury they want Fair Trade chocolate options for the holiday.
The petition to Hershey and Kraft/Cadbury is live at: http://www.greenamerica.org/takeaction/hersheycadbury/
While Cadbury has demonstrated its commitment to ending forced child labor in the West African cocoa industry by selling Fair Trade certified chocolates in the UK, Canada, Ireland, Japan, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand—the same cannot be said of Cadbury chocolate products sold in the United States.
In 1988, Hershey purchased Cadbury’s U.S. chocolate business, including the exclusive rights to make and sell well-known brands like York Peppermint Patties, Cadbury Crème Eggs, and Cadbury Solid Milk Chocolate Bunnies.
“Unfortunately, Hershey refuses to meet the standard set by Cadbury overseas of offering at least one major fair trade product, despite almost two years of mounting consumer pressure,” said Elizabeth O’Connell, Fair Trade Campaigns Director for Green America. “With Easter around the corner, the third most popular chocolate-consuming holiday in the U.S., consumers want to be able to buy Easter treats for their families that align with their values”
The Raise the Bar, Hershey campaign resulted in Hershey’s making some improvements to its sourcing practices. In January, 2012, Hershey announced it would work with Rainforest Alliance to certify its Bliss and Dagoba lines by the end of 2012, days before the International Labor Right Forum was scheduled to run a Super Bowl ad highlighting Hershey’s use of child labor. Rainforest Alliance Certification prohibits abusive child labor practices in sourced cocoa, but does not set a minimum floor price for cocoa or contain as many labor rights provisions as Fair Trade certifications.
“We acknowledge Hershey’s recent pledge to ethically source a small amount of the company’s overall chocolate offerings ,” said Sean Rudolph, Campaigns Director for the International Labor Rights Forum. “However, this does not erase the fact that the vast majority of Hershey’s profits are earned at the expense of children. Hershey’s apparent unwillingness to commit to purchasing significant amounts of ethically sourced cocoa is perplexing considering that several of Hershey’s major competitors have already made significant commitments to buy independently-certified, ethical cocoa.”
The petition is coordinated by Raise the Bar, Hershey!, a coalition of organizations fighting ongoing labor abuses such as child labor, forced labor, and human trafficking in the West African cocoa industry. The campaign has involved over one hundred thousand consumers who have voiced their concerns to Hershey about the company’s abysmal child labor practices.
The Raise the Bar, Hershey! Coalition is led by the following organizations:
GREEN AMERICA is the nation’s leading green economy organization. Founded in 1982, Green America (formerly Co-op America) provides the economic strategies, organizing power and practical tools for businesses and individuals to solve today's social and environmental problems. www.GreenAmerica.org
GLOBAL EXCHANGE is a membership-based international human rights organization dedicated to promoting social, economic and environmental justice around the world. www.GlobalExchange.org
INTERNATIONAL LABOR RIGHTS FORUM is an advocacy organization dedicated to achieving just and humane treatment for workers worldwide. www.LaborRights.org
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