Victory: Hershey’s Finally Commits to 100% Fair Trade Certified Cocoa

After years of activism by passionate fair trade activists, the Hershey Company has promised to purchase all of its cocoa from fair trade certified sources by 2020!

The Raise the Bar, Hershey! Coalition has identified forced and child labor practices and has been very active in demanding Hershey to: a) “trace its supply chain to the farm level”; b) source “from farmers who can show through independent verification that they do not use forced labor or child labor”; c) ask “suppliers to end such practices at the farms from which they source.”

The Coalition states that although this is a very significant step in the right direction, it will still continue to “hold Hershey accountable for the treatment of cocoa laborers” and to “pressure major corporations, working in chocolate and other sectors to address the issues of forced labor, child labor, and human trafficking in their supply chains.”

As committed fair trade activists, all of us at Penn State Brandywine are deeply encouraged by this victory – with time, all the hard work and patience pays off! It reminds me of a few words that Gary Haugen, CEO of the International Justice Mission, had spoken at the Justice conference: “The book of justice is long and boring…full of waiting rooms, long lines, and instructions for perseverance…but I love it. I love it, especially, when we read it together.”

As we continue this journey together, feel free to send a thank you note to Hershey to encourage it’s commitment.

Contributed by Fair Trade Intern, Labanya Mookerjee

Making Thanksgiving Desserts Fair Trade

Every year for Thanksgiving, my husband makes two desserts from scratch that he brings to the family Thanksgiving feast.  Fortunately, because he has been brought up to speed on the impact of his purchasing Fair Trade products, he didn’t blink at all at my suggestion he swap some of his standard ingredient purchases for Fair Trade food items.  One dessert was a White and Dark Chocolate Ice Box Cake (including Green & Black’s Organic White Chocolate and 72% Dark Baking Chocolate).  But here, I’d like to share his other creation.

Espresso-Chocolate Speckle Angel Food Cake

Espresso-Chocolate Speckle Angel Food Cake


1 and 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar (he used Woodstock’s Organic Powdered Sugar)
1 cup cake flour (not self-rising)
12 large egg whites
1 and 1/2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 cup granulated sugar (he used Wholesome Sweeteners Organic & Fair Trade Sugar)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract (he used Frontier Vanilla Flavor)
2 tablespoons instant espresso powder (unfortunately, we could not find any Fair Trade instant varieties!)
3 ounces bittersweet chocolate (he used Divine 85% Dark Chocolate), grated on the fine holes of a hand grater, or in a rotary grater
3 ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted as a chocolate drizzle (again, Divine Chocolate)

STEP ONE:  Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 325 degrees F.  Spray a 10-inch bundt pan with non-stick cooking spray (notice we used a cake pan with a cathedral design).

STEP TWO:  Sift the cake flour and confectioners’ sugar together onto a piece of waxed paper three times; set aside.

STEP THREE:  In the 4 and 1/2 quart bowl of a heavy-duty electric mixer, using the wire whip attachment, beat the egg whites at medium speed until frothy.  Add the cream of tartar and beat at high speed, adding the sugar gradually, until the whites are glossy and stiff, but not dry.  Add the vanilla and espresso powder and continue mixing until just incorporated.  Scrape the mixture into a large bowl.

STEP FOUR:  In three batches, resift the flour/sugar mixture over the whites and gently fold in with a large rubber spatula until just combined.  Gently fold in the grated chocolate until combined.  Scrape the batter into the bundt pan and bake for 45 to 50 minutes, until the cake begins to pull away from the side of the pan.  Using a knife, loosen the cake form the pan.  Let sit on a cake rack for 5 minutes and invert onto another cake rack.  Allow the cake to cool completely before glazing.

STEP FIVE:  To garnish the cake, dip a fork into the melted chocolate and drizzle the glaze over the top and sides of the cake.

STEP SIX:  Enjoy!  Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Contributed by Dr. Laura Guertin

Hershey Announces 100% Certification by 2020!

That’s right you read correctly, Hershey has announced that they plan to be 100% Fair Trade certified by the year 2020, and that by next year they should have one of their top name brands certified. For years the Raise The Bar, Hershey! campaign has been actively pressuring the chocolate company to reevaluate their child slavery practices and work towards a more ethical system.

Hershey stated that they will make this change in small increments over the next eight years, but did not address how they will do this or what certifications they seek to gain.While there is still a lot to question about Hershey’s statement, this is definitley a victory for Raise The Bar, Hershey!

Read the article here

Contributed by Louis Donaghue, Fair Trade Intern


Whole Foods Supports Child Slavery?

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.

Voice your opinion here.

Contributed by Louis Donaghue, Fair Trade Intern

A Question about Chocolate

It’s question time! So, Dr. Laura Guertin and I were in Wegmans grocery store today, shopping for our campus fair trade s’mores event tomorrow, and we were wondering about some missing food labels. In our mad dash around the store, we came across Hershey’s Bliss chocolate, but found no Rainforest Alliance label on the packaging (Dove chocolates, we discovered on accident, does have a brand of chocolate that is Rainforest Alliance certified).  To our understanding, Bliss chocolate is Rainforest Alliance certified, so why wouldn’t the labeling appear on packaging? Has anybody seen Bliss chocolates with the labeling, or does anybody know why the label wouldn’t be included?

Our second question came up in the international section of Wegmans. I had spotted UK Cadbury  chocolates the other week and wanted to check out their Fair Trade label. However, just like Bliss, I couldn’t find a Fair Trade label for the UK Cadbury milk chocolate bars. If the bars are really from the UK and are the right brand of chocolate, why wouldn’t the label appear on the packaging?

Has anybody else out there had any similar questions? Does anybody know what is going on with these labels?

-Contributed by Sarah DeMartino, Fair Trade Intern

Seeking Ethical Chocolate – A Fair Trade S’more Event!

The chocolate industry has been a growing point of controversy and change. An awareness of how chocolate is made and who makes it has stirred the need to move the industry in a more positive and humane direction.  Seventy percent of the world’s cocoa is produced in West Africa, and it is estimated that around 1.8 million children are working on cocoa farms. In a study conducted (additional article) by Tulane University, it was determined that some of the children are working in very poor and often dangerous conditions, sustaining injuries, and some have been trafficked onto these farms (additional article).

There has been an outcry for the chocolate industry to end child labor from many different organizations and groups. Some major chocolate companies involved with child labor are Mars, Cadbury, Nestle, and Hershey, and there has been some movement from each of these companies to mitigate the issue.

Mars has promised to be child-labor free by 2020 and is working with the U.S. Department of Labor and the International Labour Organization to understand the complexities of child labor and find “…more effective strategies to combat trafficking…”.

Britain’s popular Cadbury  has also taken steps to promote a more ethical chocolate industry and became Fair Trade (additional article), putting Fair Trade certified chocolate on store shelves back in 2010 .

Nestle partnered with the Fair Labor Association to identify if they have child laborers working under them and hopes to resolve any child labor issues they may have been supporting.

Hershey’s chocolate has also begun to take steps to amend its business practices. Hershey has agreed to sell “Bliss” chocolate, a Rainforest Alliance certified chocolate bar. It has also pledged $10 million over the next five years to help educate farmers in West Africa and improve their trade to fight child labor. As America’s biggest chocolate producer, Hershey is under a lot of  pressure to continue to make steps toward fighting child labor. On June 12, 2012, leaders from AIDS Healthcare Foundation, Global Exchange, Green America, the International Labor Rights Forum, and the National Guestworker Alliance, called for Hershey to step up and make reforms for its chocolate production and “…ongoing use of abusive child labor…”.

The “We Want more from our S’Mores” event was started by Global Exchange on July 4, 2012 to further encourage Hershey to move in a more ethical direction. The event calls for making Fair Trade ingredient s’mores and runs until Labor Day. For more information about having your own event, click here.

The Penn State Brandywine TrailBlazers will be participating in this event to promote a more ethical chocolate system, and hopes to not only encourage Hershey to continue to grow and expand its effort to fight child labor, but the rest of the chocolate industry as well. Our event will be held 12:30PM on Thursday August 16, 2012, in the Vairo Building Courtyard on the Penn State Brandywine campus. If you would like to attend for some additional discussion and to create your own Fair Trade s’more (or two, or three, or four…), please RSVP here!

UPDATE: Article on on National S’more Day: Make Yours Fair Trade (08/10/2012)

-Contributed by Sarah DeMartino, Fair Trade Intern

Divine Chocolate: empowering small farmers

I was excited for today’s speaker, Amanda White from Divine Chocolate, not only for the free samples our faculty adviser ordered for us (the toffee nut crunch is, well… divine!), but for the opportunity to engage in conversation with someone who is in the depths of this complex and valuable global movement.

After giving us the history of Kuapa Kokoo, the farming co-op in Ghana that began their own chocolate company in 1997, Amanda talked about the importance of the Fair Trade business model. Not only does it provide farmers with fair wages in the form of minimum prices for their cocoa plus a social premium, but it provides them with knowledge, power, and profits that enhance many areas of their lives.

Divine Chocolate seminar

Amanda White (Divine Chocolate) speaking at Penn State Brandywine, April 16, 2012 (via Fair Trade at Penn State Brandywine)

Empowering small farmers is at the root of the Fair Trade movement. Farmers learn more about their product by understanding the industry and having face-to-face communication with consumers, retailers, politicians, and activists. They have power over their own company by knowing exactly where their cocoa goes, how it’s handled and traded, and what contracts look like. With the knowledge and power that comes with owning their own chocolate company, farmers are swimming in profits that are not just monetary. The Fair Trade model gives farmers the ability the share in the profits they have helped create. So instead of using a lump of charity-donated money to build a school or a health clinic, their business practices allows for sustainability.

“It’s more than just a school or a health clinic,” Amanda shared with us. “It’s teachers and clinicians, too.”

Co-op farmers utilize this business model to build upon their profits. And with sustainable profit growth comes more knowledge, more power, and ultimately, the empowerment that the Fair Trade movement has set out to provide.

After her talk about Divine Chocolate (and a dozen or so chocolate bars later), Amanda fielded some questions and sat down with our committee to talk about the future of Fair Trade in the United States.

Amanda White and the Fair Trade TrailBlazers

Amanda White (Divine Chocolate) with the Fair Trade TrailBlazers, after her seminar on April 16, 2012 (via Fair Trade at Penn State Brandywine)

We talked about the many facets of the movement. Want to get involved? Study agricultural anthropology, economics, international business, nonprofit management, women’s studies, communications, environmental sustainability… the list goes on. Our conversation reminded me of what Billy Linstead Goldsmith of Fair Trade Towns USA said during a workshop at Temple University a few weeks back: “Fair Trade is kind of a meeting point of all the aspects of social justice.”

That is what makes me so invested in the movement. That is why I’m eager to continue learning about all that Fair Trade has to offer, about it’s successes and vulnerabilities, about finding a place and a voice in our society, and moving forward as a sustainable movement in our country, and ultimately, the world.

Many thanks to Amanda and Divine Chocolate for lending her to us on this beautiful spring day! Learn more about Divine Chocolate at

[View the story “Divine Chocolate speaks at Penn State Brandywine” on Storify, created from the live tweets during Amanda’s talk!]

Contributed by Sara Neville