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This Valentine's Day, No Kisses for Hershey

2/9/2011 11:45:50 AM

Tags: Hershey, Hershey's kisses, Valentine's Day, Fair Trade chocolate, Raise the Bar, Hershey! Green America, Robyn Griggs Lawrence

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 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 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 


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2/15/2011 11:26:10 AM
Of course, during my tirade against co-op chocolate I do not condone any ill treatment of anyone, from pickers to publicity. I'm afraid that my tastebuds took me down the wrong corridor when I wrote my first comments. I do however, mean what I said

2/15/2011 11:12:17 AM
One thing I never understand about free trade chocolates or co-op chocolates is the price. I can buy lindor chocolates which have been shipped from europe, after being created into truffles, wrapped, beans roasted, conched, had flavourings and sugar, and nuts and fruits added, been tempered, bagged and what-ever for about 12 dollars a pound. Then I try and buy co-op chocolate which is grown, processed and wrapped all by the same group of people and sent directly to the US instead of getting there via europe, and a 2 ounce chocolate bar is 4 or 5 dollars! This may make me a horrible person, but why should I spend four or five times as much money on chocolate I do not like? Why are the chocolates made by people who have less overhead and own the raw product so much more? I support eco companies, by from local farmers, try and cut my carbon footprint, but I draw the line at free-trade chocolate

J Steele
2/15/2011 8:21:49 AM
The "logic" is plain - If companies did not do business with "THE ONES WHO ARE DOING WRONG" and only had relationships with reputable farms or factories, conditions for workers (children and adult) would be improved. Corporations need to be held responsible for their part in this cycle of abuse. I think Mother is a great magazine and the fact that it brings these sort of issues to the forefront for discussion and contemplation is admirable. Because of articles like this, maybe people will take pause and think about where that piece of chocolate came from before obliviously indulging. Keep-up the good work Mother!!!!

2/14/2011 5:25:29 PM
Frankly, by extension of this 'logic' almost everything sold in this country is manufactured in a process that somewhere along the path from start to cash register uses labor that could be construed as abusing somebody somewhere. If you feel compelled to action over someone using "slavery" or any other practice you don't like then go to the source to do something about it; THEY ARE THE ONES DOING WRONG. When you have proof that a company is directly trading children/slaves and not some local warlords/thugs/criminals then I may listen to your complaint. My social responsibility is what I decide- not you nor anyone else. Keep MOTHER what it is and has been- NOT a social cause forum.

J Steele
2/14/2011 12:38:34 PM
So Fran you think children being made to work in slave-like and deplorable conditions is o.k. if Hershey does some good P.R. work here at home via their boarding school...Mmm wonder what sort of education and free clothes the children working the coca farms get!!!

K Williams
2/14/2011 8:37:42 AM
I don't by any means object to moral imperative type articles, and this cause seems worthwhile-- but it does not fit any of your declared topics, i.e. sustainable farming, do-it-yourself, etc, etc; and I can't help wishing that you would stick to your original goals. I get many eco-friendly newsletters from non-profits which cover corporate greed pretty thoroughly and I'm filled in on it; but maybe I'm just an oddball geek. I do love your on-topic stuff. Kathleen

Fran Tracy
2/14/2011 7:11:03 AM
I guess you guys don't know the tremendous food that hersey does to put children in schools free and supply all clothing and the graduation rates. Fran

Miss Martha
2/9/2011 11:34:20 PM
Are the forums still available? It's been some time since you changed them and many of us had trouble. I thought I would come back. Although I am recoginized, I am not allowed to post. What can I do? Would love to be part of this group again. Thanks for any answers.

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