Chocolate Scorecard: 7 Ways to Get Child Labor Out of Your Holiday Candy

Is There Child Slave Labor In Your Child’s Halloween Candy?

Get child labor out of your chocolates for Halloween and the holidays. Click on the card to down load this chocolate scorecard from Green America.

Good news for parents this Halloween: It’s easier than ever to avoid buying chocolate from Hershey, the largest U.S. chocolate company. Hershey fails to ensure that child labor is not part of its chocolate. Two major reports this September called out Hershey’s failure and the prevalence of egregious child labor, forced labor and trafficking abuses in the cocoa sector in Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana where Hershey sources much of its cocoa.

Just in time for Halloween, Thanksgiving and the December holidays, the independent, non-profit Green America has outlined seven ways to find and give Fair Trade chocolate people can feel good about, and take constructive actions to get Hershey to go Fair Trade.

  1. Use the new “Get Child Labor Out of Your Chocolates Scorecard” to shop online. Among the “A” ranked alternatives to Hershey chocolate are Alter Eco, Coco-Zen, Divine, Equal Exchange, Shama, Sjaak’s, Sweet Earth Organic and Theo Chocolate, all of which are Fair Trade. All of Hershey’s competitors have some form of labor certification for their chocolate, leaving Hershey as the only company on the list without one. Confused by what all of those certification symbols mean? The Scorecard includes a short overview of the most widely used labels and explains what they mean.
  2. Shop for Fair Trade chocolate locally. You can find dozens of locations around the U.S. online here. Other places to check in Western MA are River Valley Co-op (Northampton), Cornucopia (Northampton), Whole Foods (Hadley & Williamstown), Green Fields Market (Greenfield), and Berkshire Co-op Market (Great Barrington).
  3. Fair Trade Your Halloween. You can hand out bite-sized Fair Trade chocolates and let parents of Trick-or-Treaters know why Fair Trade matters. In addition, thousands of families across the US are taking part in local “reverse trick-or-treating” to educate other families about the abuse of children in the cocoa production.
  4. Help raise awareness by holding a screening in your home of “The Dark Side of Chocolate.” Filmmakers Miki Mistrati and U. Robin Romano traveled to cocoa farms in Côte d’Ivoire and what they found was dark. Few improvements have been made on the ground and egregious labor rights abuses continue, years after major chocolate companies committed to ending this exploitation. Get more information about how to get involved here
  5. Take Green America’s new action targeting Hershey. Don’t just avoid Hershey chocolates; let this company know what you think. Go here to send your message to a Hershey’s executive now.
  6. Take action on Facebook. You can start by “liking” Hilltown Families or Green America’s latest posts about Hershey, so your friends can see them. You can also go to Hershey‘s Facebook page and leave your own comments for them and their customers to see. Every few days, Hershey posts a new question designed to keep up the chatter on their page, constantly exposing their brand to more eyeballs. That’s where you can add your comments about expecting Hershey to be more responsible.
  7. Send a letter to the editor of your local newspaper. You’ll find all the background information that you need for your letter to the editor by downloading the “Time to Raise the Bar” report.

Green America Corporate Social Responsibility Director, Todd Larsen, said:

We understand that parents who may become aware of the concerns regarding Hershey chocolate and abusive child labor may feel powerless to do anything about it. That’s why we want them to know that there are constructive actions they can take to make a difference. While Hershey pays its CEO $8 million annually, the company is doing little to end the practice of forced child labor in cocoa-growing regions, where many children are not paid for their labor and are abused. This corporate giant is hoping that parents will throw up their hands and just go along as they always have in the past. Our message is simple: You can be sure that you are not putting child slave labor in your child’s Halloween bag or those of other children.

  • K-6 Teachers: Click Here for Fair Trade Cocoa Curriculum

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