January 25, 2012

Have a Fair Trade Valentine's Day

Source: NYSUT Social Justice and Labor Center
Labor-Religion Valentine logo

Valentine's Day is a major chocolate-buying holiday, but gifts for your sweetheart should not come at the expense of worker rights. Forced labor, child labor and trafficking continue in the cocoa industry in West Africa.

This Valentine's Day join the Labor-Religion Coalition of New York State and put an end to child labor and trafficking in the cocoa industry.

What you can do

Tell Hershey to have a heart. Why Hershey? Almost all major chocolate companies have committed to using cocoa suppliers that comply with international labor standards, but Hershey continues to lag behind the industry.

• Collect signatures on the Raise the Bar Hershey petition calling on Hershey to eliminate the child labor, forced labor and trafficking in their cocoa supply. Download a petition here.

• Make your Valentine chocolate Fair Trade. Fair Trade provides a solution to global economic injustice. Fair Trade principles include a fair price for producers, the prohibition of child labor, community development, environmental sustainability and direct relationships between consumers and producers. See Green America's chocolate scorecard.

• Host a screening of The Dark Side of Chocolate. You can raise awareness by hosting a screening of The Dark Side of Chocolate in your school or community. This important documentary exposes the ongoing use of trafficked child labor in the cocoa industry.

• Visit Raise the Bar Hershey to obtain a copy and toolkit, including discussion guide and background information. To learn more visit http://www.raisethebarhershey.org/.

• Visit Fair Trade Towns USA to download a list of more films about Fair Trade.

• Make Valentines for Hershey CEO John Bilbrey calling on Hershey to end child labor, forced labor and human trafficking in its cocoa supply. You can also download a Valentine to color at http://www.raisethebarhershey.org/.  

Address your valentine to:

Hershey CEO John Bilbrey
100 Crystal A Drive
Hershey, Pa., 17033

Please mail your Valentines to Hershey by Feb. 17.

If you make your own Valentine, please scan it and send the image to the Fair Trade Project at fairtrade@labor-religion.org. The Labor-Religion Coalition will post some of their favorites online.

For more information on Fair Trade Valentine activities and curriculum resources, go to http://www.labor-religion.org/index.htm.