Most people that follow the Fair Trade movement know that Hershey’s chocolate has been accused of using child slave labor for a long time now. Many petitions have been aimed towards trying to change this. Recently Hershey’s has made a new brand of chocolate, trying to appeal towards their ethically minded buyers, that wears the Rainforest Alliance symbol called Dagoba. Many thought that Hershey’s was taking a step in the right direction, until it was discovered that even this more ethical version of their chocolate bar, along with another Hershey’s side brand named Scharffenberger, was using child slave labor.
As a response many markets and buyers of Dagoba and Scharffenberger boycotted the products and have signed petitions trying to change this. When Whole Foods was offered a spot on the list to petition Hershey’s crimes many were shocked when they withheld their support. Whole Foods is a large advocate for the Fair Trade movement, even having their certification labels call Whole Trade. Fair Trade fans are now asking where Whole Foods loyalties lie, with ethically minded consumers and poorly treated workers around the world, or big companies who use slave labor?
No one can disregard everything Whole Foods has done so far to benefit Fair Trade, but it makes one wonder if they honestly believe in these ethical practices, or if they see them as a convenient vehicle for more sales.
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-Contributed by Louis Donaghue, Fair Trade Intern