Target: Warner Bros. Chairman and CEO Kevin Tsujihara
Goal: Thank Warner Bros. for committing to use only fair trade chocolate in its Harry Potter-themed candy.
Thanks to the actions of activists and Harry Potter fans, the chocolate used in Warner Bros.’ “Chocolate Frogs” has gone fair trade. The campaign to ensure that the chocolate used in the candy is produced without child labor has been ongoing since 2010 as a project of the Harry Potter Alliance, a group of Harry Potter fans committed to improving the world by looking at social issues through the lens of Harry Potter. This four-year campaign by the Alliance and others, such as this petition on ForceChange, has inspired Warner Bros. to release a statement saying that all Harry Potter-themed chocolates will be 100 percent UTZ (a sustainability program) or Fair Trade certified by the end of 2015.
Because chocolate is in high demand, cocoa farmers continuously lower their prices to stay competitive. This means that many cocoa farmers earn less than $2 per day. To cut costs, many farmers rely on child labor to pick and process their cocoa. Many children are sold to traffickers and put to work because their families can’t afford the cost of living. The work is dangerous—children who are often between 12 and 16 years old use machetes to hack open cocoa pods without any protective clothing. They rarely attend school and are usually fed cheap food that doesn’t meet the nutritional requirements of their physically demanding job.
Thankfully, this is no longer the case with the chocolate used in Warner Bros.’ Harry Potter-themed chocolate. This commitment to fair trade chocolate is a great step toward ending these practices for good, as buying fair trade rewards cocoa farmers who do not use child labor and pays them more accordingly. Thank human rights activists like those at ForceChange, the Harry Potter Alliance, and Warner Bros. for encouraging ethical cocoa farming practices.
Dear Mr. Tsujihara,
Child labor in the cocoa industry is a serious concern. Children are often sold by their families to traffickers and farm owners to keep the costs of cocoa production down, as competition has driven prices so low that many farmers earn less than $2 per day. The work is dangerous, and child laborers generally do not attend school or receive adequate nutrition, effectively trapping them in this horrible cycle.
Thanks to the efforts of the Harry Potter Alliance and human rights activists, more people are increasingly aware of these unethical practices. Your recent recognition of these concerns and the changes Warner Bros. has made to ensure that the chocolate used in your company’s chocolate is fair trade and ethically sourced is an inspiration for other companies to do the same. While it may cost more, fans and consumers are willing to pay to ensure that the chocolate they consume is not the product of child labor.
Thank you for listening to consumers’ concerns and making progressive changes to eliminate unethically-sourced cocoa from your products. We appreciate this step forward and hope you can lead other companies to do the same.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Sam Howzit via Flickr