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Costumed Activists To Give Hershey More Than 100,000 Signatures Demanding a Commitment to Child Labor-Free Cocoa by Halloween

Hershey customers aim to "scare" the company into using fair trade cocoa by Halloween

HERSHEY, Pa., Oct. 25, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Hershey customers and ethical cocoa advocates delivered more than 100,000 petition signatures to Hershey's corporate headquarters today calling on the company to commit to buying ethically produced cocoa.

This delivery comes on the heels of three rallies that were held Saturday, October 22, at Hershey's retail stores in New York City, Chicago, and Niagara Falls.  At these events concerned consumers, teachers, and students collected signatures to be added to today's total.

The petition drop was coordinated by Raise the Bar, Hershey!, a coalition of organizations fighting ongoing labor abuses such as child labor, forced labor and trafficking in the cocoa industry.  The coalition and its 100,000 supporters are calling on Hershey to make a commitment to buying ethically sourced cocoa by Halloween, the U.S.'s number one chocolate consuming holiday.

In addition to delivering the petition to the Hershey Executives, the nine members of Hershey's Board were sent copies of the petitions with a call to use their position on the Board as a way to steer the company in the right direction to remain competitive.  Many of the other major chocolate companies, including Mars, Nestle, and Cadbury have made commitments to buying cocoa that has been certified to comply with international labor rights standards.

"A decade ago, Hershey signed an agreement to help fight child labor and other abuses in the cocoa industry," said Elizabeth O'Connell, fair trade campaign director at Green America, a member of the Raise the Bar, Hershey! coalition. "Yet it has done far less than other chocolate companies to address these abuses. This Halloween, thousands of consumers are telling Hershey they're fed up with cocoa tainted by the abuse of children."

Signatures from the latest petition of the Raise the Bar Hershey campaign can be found at: http://www.change.org/petitions/hershey-raise-the-bar

The Raise the Bar, Hershey! Coalition is led by the following organizations:

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. For more information, go to: http://www.GreenAmerica.org.

GLOBAL EXCHANGE is a membership-based international human rights organization dedicated to promoting social, economic and environmental justice around the world. For more information, go to http://www.GlobalExchange.org.

INTERNATIONAL LABOR RIGHTS FORUM is an advocacy organization dedicated to achieving just and humane treatment for workers worldwide. For more information, go to http://www.LaborRights.org.

For more information on Change.org, please visit:
http://www.change.org/about
Change.org is the world's fastest-growing platform for social change — growing by more than 400,000 new members a month, and empowering millions of people to start, join, and win campaigns for social change in their community, city and country.

SOURCE Green America, Washington, DC



RELATED LINKS
http://www.GreenAmerica.org

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