October is a busy time for chocolate sales. According to The Nielsen Company, Americans purchase an estimated 90 million pounds of chocolate each Halloween.
October is also a busy time if you are campaigning for human rights in the cocoa sector. We’ve spent the last month bringing together an increasing number of consumers who care that the chocolate they consume was produced without the use of forced or child labor. Across the country, individuals and groups called on Hershey, America’s iconic chocolate company, to go fair trade. We generated tons of media as well. Here’s a recap of all we have accomplished together.
With local organizers in New York City, Chicago and Niagara Falls, we were able to spread the word about the labor abuses in Hershey’s supply chain in front of its three retail locations. In Niagara we teamed up with NYSUT (New York State United Teachers), the New York Labor Religion Coalition, and the Council of Canadians to collect signatures for the CEO of Hershey. The group handed out more than 400 brochures to interested consumers and collected signatures of people from over 18 countries.
In Chicago we teamed up with Chicago Fair Trade as well as students and teachers to collect signatures in front of the Hershey store on Michigan Avenue. In New York City we teamed up with local grad students to bring this message to the folks in bustling Times Square.
In addition to collecting signatures in person, we reached out to more online sympathizers. With the help of Change.org, we were able to more than double the amount of signatures we’ve collected online in just a few days. This video was also a big help to build awareness at this critical time.
Finally, on October 25th we gathered all the signatures the campaign has collected thus far ( a whopping 100,000!) and hand delivered them to Hershey’s headquarters in Hershey PA. Read more about this trip here, or hear about it on the radio.
On Halloween we engaged hundreds in our online photo petition contest on Hershey’s Facebook wall. We even had the chance to talk about the campaign on CBC Evening News (skip ahead to minute 52:40).
We are so grateful who all who have taken action with us this far to call on Hershey to stop sourcing cocoa produced with labor abuses. To take further action on this issue please consider:
- Ordering The Dark Side of Chocolate to screen in your community
- Sign our online petition on Change.org
- Choose fair trade chocolate for your holidays (download our chocolate scorecard for more information)