Fair-Trade & FNBs

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Fair-Trade & FNBs

Fair trade has been a hot topic for over ten years. It seems that the majority of backlash from FNBs not participating was 10-20 years ago. Hershey's, Starbucks, and Ghirardelli's were three large FNB companies that faced pressure from activists and consumers to become fair trade.


  • Hershey's dominates over 42% of the US chocolate market.

Hershey's- Raise The Bar Campaign

  • Global Exchange, Green America, and the International Labor Rights Forum led the charge against Hershey's with their Raise the Bar, campaign. They were joined by over 150,000 consumers, unions, and religious groups.
  • This campaign lasted for more than 2 years.
  • Over 30,000 consumers participated by asking Hershey to stop sponsoring child labor by Halloween 2012, or they would not purchase the candy for trick-or-treating. By October 2, the company announced their 2020 campaign to source their cocoa.
  • "A decade ago, Hershey signed an agreement to help fight child slavery and other abuses in the cocoa industry," said Elizabeth O'Connell, 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."
  • Consumer alert card were left on the shelves in front of Hershey's products alerting the consumer to their trade and labor practices. The alert cards include a code to allow shoppers to take action on their smartphones in the store as part of a larger campaign, including an online petition with over 13,000 supporters.
  • The campaign was covered by major news outlets, increasing the pressure.
  • Over 42,000 consumers phoned, sent emails and postcards, and signed petitions.

Hershey's- The Response

  • In 2012, Hershey Co. announced that they would by certifying 100% of their cocoa by 2020 and allowed the campaign to monitor their incremental benchmarks. The also agreed to accelerate programs to help eliminate child labor in the cocoa regions of West Africa.
  • They sat a goal of reaching over two million West Africans though their public/private partnerships and programs.

Hershey's- 2020- Cocoa For Good

  • The Cocoa For Good campaign invests half a billion dollars by 2030 for children and the communities that farm their cocoa.
  • The goals include increasing access to nutritious food, eliminating child labor, empowering women, and increasing agroforestry.
  • Part of this campaign is increased supply chain traceability and transparency. They will be paying certification premiums to farmer groups that "successfully met internationally recognized environmental and labor standards", and investing in additional interventions.
  • In 2018, CLMRS was introduced to their suppliers in Cote d’Ivoire and Ghana. "CLMRS is the leading method of detection and remediation of child labor amongst children aged 5-17 and was developed through the International Cocoa Initiative (ICI)."


Starbucks- The Campaign

  • In 2000, a campaign by thousands of activists began to pressure Starbucks to carry Fair Trade coffee in all their cafes.
  • In 2001 over 100 cities held protests on the same day that were organized by the Organic Consumers Association. In 2002, activists in over 300 cities protested.
  • Multiple "Boycott Starbucks" campaigns were introduced as late as 2014. The Organic Consumers Association stated in 2014, "The Organic Consumers Association has been pressuring Starbucks for 12 years to change its policies and practices around organics and fair trade. Yet apart from one victory—in 2007, when in response to consumer pressure Starbucks agreed to stop using milk containing Monsanto's Bovine Growth Hormone—the company has largely ignored consumer demand for organic, non-GMO drinks and snacks."

Starbucks- The Response

  • Initially, Starbucks introduced a whole bean Fair Trade Certified coffee at over 2,300 stores.
  • They also announced that they purchased 75,000 pounds of Guatemalan and Nicaraguan coffee that was guaranteed by the vendors to be certified "fair-trade". This was met with great skepticism, since this amount was a very small amount of the overall coffee sales that Starbucks enjoys yearly.
  • By 2015, they had stated that 99% of the coffee they sold would be verified by outside certification specialists as being ethically sourced. They had invested more the $70 million into ethically sourced coffee. Their own reports in 2013 stated a different story with only 8.4% being certified fair trade.
  • Starbucks has resisted using fair-trade products, and instead have engaged in their own labeling with products being ethically sourced and drafting their own CAFE Practices- their answer to fair-trade. These practices have been criticized for not having a minimum guaranteed price for the coffee, and no community investment.

Starbucks- Today

  • It is unclear how successful Starbucks has truly been in their campaign for fair trade coffee. In 2018, investigators found that a Starbucks Certified coffee plantation in Brazil had their workers working in degrading conditions and living in substandard housing. 18 workers were rescued in condition some Labor Ministry officials described as slavery.
  • In a 2019 article, they were still being called out for their soaring profits and not being truly ethical with their sourcing. Their Starbucks Certified program, based on their own in-house rules, are not as stringent as Fair Trade standards.
  • Starbucks has been very successful at maintaining profits and countering bad press by making many promises for the future of coffee and agriculture, even if it is just a PR move.


Ghirardelli- The Campaign- Put a Fair Trade Label on It!

  • After Hershey's adopted fair trade practices, Global Exchange sat their sights on Ghirardelli with their Put a Fair Trade Label on It campaign.
  • The campaign 2014 included over 10,000 consumers asking the company to become a Fair Trade company in the form of letters and petitions.
  • The effort resulted in responses from the chocolate company to sit down and talk about the issues, but Ghirardelli was very resistant until recently.

Ghirardelli- The Response

  • The 2019 chocolate scorecard indicates that Ghirardelli, a Lindt company, received a grade of C. 86% of their chocolate is now certified and they have a goal of 100% in 2020. 100% of their cocoa beans will come from the Lindt & Sprüngli Farming Program and be traceable and verified.
  • According to their website, they have improved traceability through their Lindt & Sprungli Farming Program. They state that fair trade is not just a label, it is a conscious decision.
  • Their farming program has trained over 45,000 farmers, and they have invested in over 20 village resource centers.
  • They state, "Lindt & Sprüngli shares the goals of sustainable cocoa cultivation and a collaborative partnership with producers. However, the company has decided to go its own way and develop a sustainable sourcing model known as the Lindt & Sprüngli Farming Program."
  • This program has made it possible to fully trace and verify the entire cocoa bean supply chain.
  • This program has four elements. The first is to organize the farmers into groups and setting up systems for traceability. The second element provides training and knowledge for the farmers. The third element involves investing in their farms and community in the forms of clean drinking water and new schools. The final element is verification, where they assess the effectiveness of their activities and note areas for improvement.
  • Annual external audits are completed by the Earthworm Foundation.