WASHINGTON, D.C., Feb. 01 /CSRwire/ - Planning on buying your sweetheart Hershey chocolates for Valentine's Day? You might not be "in the mood" to do so if you knew where that chocolate came from in Western Africa, where trafficked child labor is widely used for chocolate production. Unlike most leading global chocolate makers (including those in the U.S.), Hershey is still declining to take steps to curb such abuses in its supply chain.
As a result, the nonprofit Green America is urging American consumers to "send a Valentine" to Hershey's to let the nation's biggest chocolate company know that they oppose continued use of chocolate that hasn't been certified to be free from the worst forms of abusive child labor. 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 at www.raisethebarhershey.org. Cards should be sent to: David West, CEO; The Hershey Company; 100 Crystal A Drive; Hershey, PA 17003.
Elizabeth O'Connell, Fair Trade coordinator, Green America, said: "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. 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."
Green America and its "Raise the Bar, Hershey!" Campaign partners are spearheading actions to encourage Hershey to switch to certified child-labor free chocolate, hosting local screenings of the film "The Dark Side of Chocolate," collecting petitions to send to Hershey, and raising awareness in classrooms of the benefits that Fair Trade products can provide to both producers and consumers. 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 just $6 to cover the cost of shipping and handling.
Learn more about how to get child labor abuses out of your chocolate at www.greenamerica.org/programs/fairtrade/whatyoucando/2010Scorecard.cfm.
ABOUT GREEN AMERICA
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. Green America's green economy programs encourage corporate responsibility, tackle climate change, build fair trading systems, advance healthy, local communities, and provide green purchasing and investing information for families and businesses.
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