Valentine’s Day is around the corner. Have you checked your chocolate?
Green America is urging consumers to send Hershey a Valentine, letting the nation’s largest chocolate company know that we won’t buy chocolate that hasn’t been certified as free from the worst forms of abusive child labor. Unlike most leading global chocolate makers, Hershey refuses to take steps to curb such abuses in its supply chain.
Green America and its allies in the Raise the Bar, Hershey! campaign - Global Exchange, International Labor Rights Forum, and Oasis USA - are encouraging Americans to either make their own card urging the company to end child labor, or to get a convenient online template. Cards should be sent to: David West, CEO; The Hershey Company; 100 Crystal A Drive; Hershey, PA 17003.
"No holiday that is dedicated to love should be commemorated by people sending each other products that are connected to the cruelty and depravity of some of the worst child labor abuses taking place anywhere on the globe today,” Elizabeth O'Connell, Fair Trade coordinator for Green America, said. “With more than 50 million pounds of chocolate sold in the U.S. for Valentine's Day alone, Green America is working to raise awareness of the abysmal labor practices that Hershey relies on. Fair Trade chocolate is widely available and represents a fair and more humane choice for consumers. We hope that young and old concerned Americans will take this opportunity to speak from the heart and send Hershey's a Valentine that can make a real difference."
Raise the Bar, Hershey! campaign partners are also encouraging consumers to host local screenings of the film "The Dark Side of Chocolate." To get involved, go to www.greenamerica.org/programs/fairtrade/MovieScreening.cfm. A full action kit - including a DVD copy of the movie for local screenings - is available from the nonprofit organization for $6.
Learn more about how to get child labor abuses out of your chocolate at www.greenamerica.org/programs/fairtrade/whatyoucando/2010Scorecard.cfm. Then treat your sweetie to chocolate you can feel good about. Here are three of my favorites:
Alter Eco Fair Trade Chocolate
Nicobella Vegan Organic Dark Chocolate Truffles
Green & Black’s Organic Peanut and Sea Salt
Tell Hershey that chocolate made with slave labor is nothing to love. Photo by Bev Sykes/flickr