Archive - February 2012

Good and Not so Good News about Hershey’s

Big news in the fair trade world! The good news is that Hershey’s has finally committed to third party monitoring; it has committed to purchasing Rainforest Alliance Certified cocoa for its Bliss Chocolate products and will invest $10 million in education and its smart-phone CocoaLink project to teach West African farmers to be more efficient and increase their crop yields.

This is the first commitment that Hershey has made to using independent third-party certification to ensure that its cocoa is grown sustainably. But, increasing crop yields is not guaranteed to bring in sufficient income for a family to encourage its children to go to school instead of working in the fields.

This is great news, reflecting the positive impact that consumer advocacy can have on a company. Hershey heard from more than 100,000 consumers (including many Fair Trade Judaica participants), who expressed their concern about children being involved with harvesting cocoa for their products.

The not so good news has two parts:

– Rainforest Alliance certification focuses on how farms are managed, compared with fair trade standards, which are designed to tackle poverty and empower producers in the world’s poorest countries, giving them a guaranteed price for their products. Additionally, Fair Trade Certification monitors to assure that no child labor is used during production.

– When Hershey acquired the Dagoba chocolate product line in 2006, it maintained its Fair Trade Certification. Hershey has now decided to switch Dagoba’s certification to the Rainforest Alliance, eliminating the more stringent fair trade standards.

If you’d like to get involved, contact the Raise the Bar Hershey campaign!