Taking a Bite Out of Child Labor

child labor cocoa field

Child Labor prevention programs in the cocoa sector have been slow to start, and insufficient. Our new “Big Chocolate” Scorecard looks in to what’s happening now.   NGOs and news outlets in the West first shined a light on the issue of child labor and extreme poverty among cocoa growing communities in West Africa in the early 2000’s. Since then, major […]

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Want to feel inspired? Read what motivates Green America’s new member, Mr. Deepak Panjwani, to volunteer and contribute to our mission of a sustainable and just planet.

2014-09-06 11.35.45

Green America has a new member who has put forward a great deal of time and money to our mission. That person is Mr. Deepak Panjwani. We were fortunate enough to catch up with him and ask him a few questions about his previous volunteer work and what he thinks about Green America. Green America: Can you tell us about […]

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Domestic Work is Real Work


Did you know there is a whole sector of American workers who do not have the right to organize, to overtime pay, or legal protection from workplace discrimination and harassment? Domestic workers, such as those providing care for children and the elderly, are actually exempt from a large number of the employment rights many Americans take for granted. Excluded from the Fair […]

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Hershey Listens…

and Reveals Timeline to Transition to Certified Cocoa Sources Two weeks ago, I attended the Child Labor Cocoa Coordinating Group (CLCCG) hosted by the Department of Labor in Washington, DC.  I was disappointed in what I heard from the Hershey company. Five months after Hershey’s October 2012 announcement of plans to certify the company’s cocoa supply chain by 2020, all Hershey had to offer the CLCCG was its minor support of  CocoaLink, a text messaging program for farmers in Ghana.  It remains to be seen whether or not CocoaLink is effective in preventing child labor, as their has been no data reported on the issue.  What we do know is that 30% of the messages sent focus on social issues, a portion of which mention child labor specifically.   This program reaches fewer than 1% of Ghanaian farmers, and can demonstrate no measurable effect on the child labor problem.  The program has yet to be introduced in Cote D’Ivoire. Green America and our allies in the “Raise the Bar, Hershey coalition” reacted by immediately releasing a public comparison of the social-justice commitments of the big chocolate companies. One week later, on March 21, Hershey updated the terms of its commitment, pledging for the first time that 10 percent of its cocoa purchases will be certified by the end of this year.   We’ve seen that constant vigilance and pressure pays off in pushing companies to do the right thing.  We’ll hold Hershey to its new 10-percent by 2013 commitment, and we’ll keep pushing the company […]

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Q: What happens when a mega-bank is late with a payment?

A:  They receive a nice letter politely asking that they “use maximum discretion and effort” to meet their obligations. Shame on Wells Fargo, Bank of America, Citibank, and JP Morgan Chase, who are reported to be sitting on $130 million worth of insurance payments due to victims of Superstorm Sandy.  Imagine if the banks’ customers could respond to the mega-banks with the same late fees and compound interest that mega-banks demand of their customers who are late with payments far smaller than $130 million!   It’s just one more reason to Break Up With Your Mega-Bank. From CNN: “Families need to be able to return to their homes and the state economy, which took a hit from Superstorm Sandy, needs the boost from spending on repairs,” Cuomo said in a written statement. “After insurance companies have sent homeowners checks to pay for repairs, the money should not be sitting with the bank because of red tape.” The state’s Department of Financial Services found that four of the biggest U.S. banks — Wells Fargo, Bank of America, Citibank and JP Morgan Chase — are holding more than 4,100 checks worth more $130 million. The banks were not immediately available for comment, though have maintained that they were socked with a massive amount in payouts that require processing in the wake of the storm.

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Geothermal: The clean energy powerhouse you’ve never heard of

Geothermal Plant

Everyone knows about renewable energy sources like solar panels and wind turbines, but few know the details about one of the most abundant clean energy resources available: geothermal power. Geothermal electricity is generated by extracting heat from up to 2 miles below the surface and converting it into useable power. The United States produced 3,086 megawatts (MW) of geothermal electricity […]

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Changes in the world of Fair Trade Labeling: What’s a Green Consumer to do?

Fair Trade USA's new label

On September 15, Fair Trade USA (FTUSA), the United States’ labeling body for fair trade certified products announced that it would be leaving Fairtrade International (FLO), the international fair trade system.  Previously, certification for fair trade has always happened under FLO, which includes a network of 19 national labeling initiatives around the world Fair Trade USA cites several reasons for this […]

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