Retro Housewife with an important message about chocolate and this post won't make you hungry.
Most of us love chocolate. American's eat a lot of the stuff, around 2.8 billion pounds a year. But there is a dirty secret behind that sweet chocolate bar. Around 70% of the cocoa beans that are used to make our chocolate come from western Africa, where forced labor is far to common.
The Assessment of Child Labor in the Cocoa Supply Chain in Cote d'Ivoire and Ghana, done by the Payson Center at Tulane University in 2009, found that children used in cocoa farmer are involved in weeding, plucking the cocoa pods, gathering the pods, and other jobs. They are often exposed to toxic pesticides, have to carry heavy loads, and use dangerous tools.
The report also showed that 15% of the children surveyed were forced to work in the past twelve months. And nearly 50% of the children working in the farms in Cote d'Ivoire and over 50% in Ghana reported injuries from the work over the past year. Human trafficking is a major problem as well. Many children are brought from Mali to work on the cocoa plantations.
So what does all of this have to do with Hershey? Well Hershey is the most popular brand in the U.S. They account for 42.5% of the U.S. market. Even though Hershey has known since at least 2001 of the problems that exist with it's supply chain, they have yet to stop sourcing from places that use forced labor. Getting Hershey to change its ways would equal a huge win for fair trade in the cocoa industry and would be a large step in ending forced labor in the western Africa.
You can help tell Hershey that you want fair chocolate by going to the Raise The Bar campaign page and sending an email to Hershey, call Hershey, and more. We need to tell companies like Hershey that we demand fair and ethical products.
The winner of the Raise The Bar video contest.
Will learning this make you rethink your chocolate buying habits? Do you already support Fair Trade chocolate? IF so, what are your favorite brands?
Photo credits: miss karen