by Tim Newman · March 18, 2011
Now that Lent has officially begun, Easter is coming soon. While many people will be giving up something leading up to this holiday, chocolate will likely not be one of the popular items being avoided in the next month. In fact, Easter is thesecond top-selling confectionery holiday of the year, as consumers stock up on chocolate Easter bunnies and Easter eggs. With forced, trafficked and child labor continuing in the production of cocoa, will this year’s Easter bunnies be contaminated by labor exploitation?
As the production of Easter-themed chocolate products jumps in to high gear, children continue to work in hazardous conditions on cocoa farms throughout West Africa. Some workers are also in situations involving forced labor or may have been trafficked from neighboring countries to harvest cocoa beans. It has been almost ten years since major chocolate companies committed to eliminating these abuses in their chocolate products, but unfortunately, these labor abuses are still connected to the products we buy.
Many companies are starting to shift their cocoa to beans that have been certified by independent third parties to comply with international labor rights standards, but the Hershey Company has lagged behind in making such commitments. The iconic Hershey Company makes many most popular Easter-themed chocolate treats, but the company has not implemented the demands of well over 7,000 Change.org readers calling for Fair Trade Certified Hershey chocolate.
The International Labor Rights Forum, Global Exchange and Green America now have new resources that you can use for Easter and Passover to support the Raise the Bar, Hershey campaign. You can download this Easter-themed letter and mail it to Hershey. The letter includes a picture that can be colored in which is a great activity for kids. For Passover, you can use this supplement for your seder and collect Passover-themed letters to Hershey. Additionally, these organizations are also sponsoring a creative Hershey Brand Jamming Contest and have just announced a new grand prize of $1,000 for the best entry and have extended the deadline to April 10, 2011. More details on the contest are online here.
You can also take action by sending an e-mail to Hershey through Change.org and inviting your friends to join. If you are on Twitter or Facebook, you can send a message to Hershey through its Twitter account (@Hersheys) or on its Facebook wall saying that you want a Fair Trade Certified chocolate bunny from Hershey this Easter.
Photo credit: dearbarbie
Tim Newman is a campaigns assistant at the International Labor Rights Forum. He also works on the Stop Firestone campaign.
This story was published at http://www.Change.org