Groups: Whole Foods Drops Hershey's Scharffen Berger Chocolates Over Child Labor Abuses

  Groups: Whole Foods Drops Hershey's Scharffen Berger Chocolates Over Child
                                 Labor Abuses

PR Newswire

WASHINGTON, Oct. 3, 2012

Consumers Pressure Whole Foods to Drop Hershey's Dagoba Line as well

WASHINGTON, Oct. 3, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ --Whole Foods Market
locations around the country will be removing one of Hershey's high end
products-- Scharffen Berger chocolate-- from shelves across the country by
the end of the year due to Hershey's failure to assure that the cocoa is
sourced without the use of forced child labor.

Whole Foods' decision to remove Scharffen Berger comes in response to more
than 15,000 customers demanding that the natural foods grocer hold Hershey
accountable for exploiting children for profit. Whole Foods' decision follows
more than 40 natural food retailers and coops publicly expressing concern
about carrying Scharffen Berger and Dagoba products as a consequence of the
giant chocolate maker's refusal to address child labor in its supply chain.

In a letter to the Raise the Bar Hershey coalition, Whole Foods stated: "We
do not take the concern over child labor or slave labor lightly, and we are
currently in ongoing conversations with Hershey's about its existing social
accountability programs … Whole Foods Market is removing Scharffen Berger
chocolate from our shelves pending receiving further information from
Hershey's."

"We thank Whole Foods for taking the important step of dropping Hershey's
Scharffen Berger chocolates," said Alisa Gravitz, president and CEO of Green
America. "The decision to cut Scharffen Berger shows that Whole Foods knows
Hershey's isn't committed to eliminating child labor from their products."

However, the Raise the Bar Hershey campaign is disappointed that Whole Foods
will continue to offer Dagoba products.

"Now, Whole Foods needs to drop Dagoba bars to strengthen the message that
none of their products will be on Whole Foods' shelves as long as Hershey is
earning profits at the expense of child laborers," says Kirsten Moller,
co-founder of Global Exchange. Even if Dagoba is Rainforest Alliance
certified, the coalition argues that Hershey's overall lack of commitment to
ethical sourcing means they should be shut out of high end, certified
chocolate sales until they change their approach to cocoa overall.

According to a U.S. government-funded study, over 1.8 million children work in
West Africa's cocoa industry. Many of these children are exposed to dangerous
working conditions and some are even trafficked and sold off to perform
grueling labor. Hershey and other major chocolate companies source the
majority of their cocoa from West Africa. Several major chocolate makers,
including Mars and Ferrero, have agreed to make a major commitment to sourcing
ethical chocolate but Hershey's – the maker of Dagoba and Scharffen Berger -
refuses to budge.

A coalition of groups including the Teamsters, Organic Consumer's Association,
Green America, International Labor Rights Forum, Global Exchange and other
supporters are urging Whole Foods to take a stand on principal to refuse to
sell any of Hershey's individual products until the chocolate giant makes a
major commitment to sourcing ethical cocoa.

"Socially conscious consumers shouldn't be surprised that Whole Foods is
willing to sell products from suppliers that are tainted by child labor," said
Judy Gearhart, Executive Director of the International Labor Rights Forum.
"More than once, Whole Foods has turned a blind eye to the rogue conduct of
its suppliers. For example, right now Whole Foods is refusing to hold its
primary supplier UNFI, accountable for workers' rights violations at its
distribution center in Seattle."

ABOUT GREEN AMERICA

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

ABOUT GLOBAL EXCHANGE

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

ABOUT INTERNATIONAL LABOR RIGHTS FORUM

International Labor Rights Forum is an advocacy organization dedicated to
achieving just and humane treatment for workers worldwide.
www.LaborRights.org

SOURCE Green America

Website: http://www.greenamerica.org/
Website: http://www.globalexchange.org/
Website: http://www.laborrights.org/
Contact: Elizabeth O'Connell, Green America, eoconnell@greenamerica.org,
+1-202-872-5309