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Jul-14-2011 17:44printcomments

Hershey/Smartphone Protest - Groups Mount Supermarket QR Code Push Against Child Labor Abuses

Chocolate lovers leave Consumer Alert Message at the supermarket, alerting other shoppers to choose Fair Trade

QR code

(WASHINGTON D.C.) - This summer, concerned consumers are taking a high-tech stand in supermarkets across the nation to inform other shoppers about the labor violations associated with Hershey's chocolate products. Individuals are leaving smartphone-enabled "Consumer Alert" cards (http://www.raisethebarhershey.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/SmoresAlertColorJPG.jpg) on the shelf in front of Hershey products, as well as on Hershey's S'mores promotional displays, reading: "Hershey's chocolate is tainted with child labor."

The alert cards include an innovative use of a QR code to allow shoppers to take action on their smartphones right in the store as part of a larger campaign, including an online petition on Change.org with over 13,000 supporters.

The QR code is as shown on the right:

Click here to watch a video of consumers in action.

"For too long Hershey has ignored consumer requests to buy ethical, certified cocoa for its chocolate bars," said Maria Louzon, student organizer for USFT (United Students for Fair Trade). "We hope Hershey won't be able to ignore the message when it's placed on its products."

"Consumers have tremendous power to change the unethical practices of companies," said Amanda Kloer, editor for Change.org. "That's why International Labor Rights Forum, Green America, and Global Exchange are using the Change.org platform and innovative organizing strategies like QR codes to educate and empower consumers to take action."

With National S'mores Day coming up on August 10th, the Raise the Bar Hershey Campaign is getting the word out to consumers that they should choose Fair Trade for their favorite campfire treats until Hershey makes a commitment to ending child labor in its cocoa supply chain by shifting to Fair Trade certified cocoa.

Summer is a major sales season for Hershey, and the company heavily promotes its iconic chocolate bars as an essential part of the S'mores recipe. Almost 10 years after chocolate companies, including Hershey, committed to eliminating abusive child labor, forced labor and trafficking from their cocoa supply chains, these abuses continue on West African cocoa farms, where Hershey purchases the majority of its cocoa. While many of the biggest chocolate companies have started to source cocoa that has been certified by independent, third-parties to comply with international labor standards, Hershey lags behind in instituting policies to responsibly source its cocoa.

Consumers interested in participating in the campaign can go to http://www.raisethebarhershey.org/smoresvideo/ to download a consumer alert card, print it out, film and upload their own experiences. Consumers are also registering s'mores they make throughout the summer using Fair Trade Certified chocolate online as part of the "We Want More From Our S'mores" effort.

The "Raise the Bar, Hershey!" campaign is organized by the non-profit groups Green America, International Labor Rights Forum, and Global Exchange. Over 42,000 consumers have taken action by sending e-mails, postcards, petitions, and making phone calls to the company asking it to end child labor.

___________________________________

GREEN AMERICA is the nation's leading green economy organization. Founded in 1982, Green America (formerly Co-op America) provides the economic strategies, organizing power and practical tools for businesses and individuals to solve today's social and environmental problems. www.GreenAmerica.org

GLOBAL EXCHANGE is a membership-based international human rights organization dedicated to promoting social, economic and environmental justice around the world. www.GlobalExchange.org

THE INTERNATIONAL LABOR RIGHTS FORUM is an advocacy organization dedicated to achieving just and humane treatment for workers worldwide. www.LaborRights.org

CHANGE.ORG is the fastest-growing platform for social action, growing at a rate of over 300,000 new members a month. www.change.org




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