“There’s a Smile in Every Hershey’s Bar”??

Warning: If you wish to continue in your consumerism and read a polite blog post about nature, or a trip to Europe, or love, this post….this blog, rather, is not for you. But if you want to have your eyes opened to the Injustices that break God’s heart, and  the solutions that ALREADY exist, read on, and find out what you can do about it.
Most of you have probably seen a commercial, or heard an advertisement on the radio, or passed a billboard that claims 

There’s a Smile in Every Hershey’s Bar.

Oh. So that’s what they put into their chocolate to make it so good? Probably not, actually. What is it, really that goes into Hershey Bars? Well according to Hershey’s website, what goes into their milk chocolate consists of: sweeteners, chocolate liquor, cocoa butter, milk and flavoring. But the one thing that you won’t find on any label, website or wrapper, that ALSO goes into Hershey’s delicious chocolate, is forced child and slave labor.

So I know what’s going through your head right now, because as I at a table in my college dining hall, listening to one of my best friends describe his missions work in New York City, and the forced labor that goes into some of my favorite products, I tried to shrug it off. Because I probably love chocolate more than any soul on this earth, but unfortunately, that is the kind of attitude that perpetuates the social systems that serve injustice to people all over the world.

As it turns out, the cocoa business is a risky and dangerous one. The price of cocoa is often unpredictable, causing problems for the business, causing cocoa farmers to buy slaves to do the labor, to save the money they are using. And most chocolate companies (due to a little thing we call capitalism) are more than happy to turn a blind eye to this injustice, and buy from the farmers anyways. This is not limited to Hershey’s! In fact, unless a chocolate product says, on the label, fair trade, it was probably made using forced labor. 

SO this sucks, right? Not only are children and slaves being forced to harvest cocoa under bad conditions, all over the world, but now I feel guilty eating chocolate. False! There are many things that you can do about the situation, none of which include cutting chocolate out of your life!

What I can do NOW:

  1. You CAN start purchasing only fair trade chocolate. Some great companies that produce fair trade chocolate are Divine Chocolate, Theo Chocolate, Green America and Equal Exchange Chocolate. While it’s a bit more expensive (because it was not made for free by slaves) it tastes http://www.raisethebarhershey.org/take-action/! IF we decrease the demand for chocolate like Hershey’s and other main line chocolate companies, we decrease the demand, which decreases the number of slaves and child laborers being forced to work
  2. Make a call or write a letter! It doesn’t seem like this will help, but EVERYTHING COUNTS! Write a letter to your favorite company asking them to make the move toward fair trade!
  3. Raise awareness! As word spreads, our social systems begin to change.
  4. Go to http://www.raisethebarhershey.org/take-action/, a campaign called Raise the Bar, that promotes Fair Trade chocolate. You can donate or take action on this website!

For further information, see my sources:

http://ihscslnews.org/view_article.php?id=182

http://naturalpapa.com/activism/hershey-chocolate-child-labor-slavery/

http://www.awakenedaesthetic.com/2011/02/exposed-hersheys-chocolate/