November 21, 2002

Does See's Candies Support Slavers?

I worked for See's for many years through high school and college. I am the third generation of my family to work for the company. When my wife abducted my daughter and I ended up homeless I was able finally to collect my See's retirement account so I could put a roof over my head. If I hadn't had that money I don't know how I would have gotten back on my feet.

K tonight announced that her class was writing a letter to the president of Mars in order to try and stop the slave trade in children to pick cocoa. Interestingly enough Mars built heat resistant M&M;'s to supply that chocolatey goodness to US soldiers in the Gulf War. No doubt in the Gulf War II they will also have heat resistant Snicker's bars as well. Just add sugar! You too can be a slaver and do your patriotic duty in supporting the troops at the war front! Of course I have no idea if Mars is involved in this or not but certainly transparency in chocolate supplies is warranted if child slave labor is involved in the bedrock of your business.

So K is supposed to bring in some candy that she can return to Mars along with her classes letters. I love that they are writing letters. I suspect this initiative is coming through this program at Global Exchange. K says one of her girlfriend's mothers brought the project to school. I think buying candy to return is stupid. If the money is going in Mars' accounts then they are that less inclined to respond to such an initiative. I said no I am not going to put my money into such a thing. We don't buy candy to begin with. And I'm not going to start in order to make a point. No matter how reasonable the point.

K decided to go through her Halloween Candy and to return all the Mars products with her letter. She saw my point immediately and suggested an excellent compromise. We'll see what happens on that front.

(I smell fresh donuts in the night air.)

I knew nothing of this slave trade not having been in the chocolate business for many years. It appears, if all these stories are to be believed, that See's may be involved somehow with the slave trade. If this slavery is still going on I wonder, has the pact failed? I know the president of the company, a Mr. Huggins. I'm going to give him a call and see what he has to say about this situation.

Here's an excerpt about See's from the Global Exchange.

"Recent investigations have uncovered a reemergence of child slavery and oppressive labor conditions in the cocoa fields of the Ivory Coast, the origin of 43 percent of the world's cocoa. In recent years approximately 15,000 children aged 9 to 12 have been sold into forced labor on cotton, coffee and cocoa plantations in the north of the country.

"Cocoa prices are currently in a slump, a casualty of global overproduction. In order to maintain their profits, plantation owners in developing countries have turned to child slavery and paying adult workers poverty wages in order to keep the price of labor down.

"We are asking US chocolate companies like See's Candies, Inc. to help end child slavery and unfair labor practices by buying at least five percent of their chocolate as Fair Trade Certified. Because of the low prices they pay for cocoa and their immense profits from the chocolate they sell, these corporations are benefiting from child slavery and unjust labor conditions. If the corporations really wanted to abolish child slavery and worker exploitation, they have the power to do so," adds Deborah James.

I think Ms. James is being melodramatic when she says "immense profits" when speaking of See's. The company makes a consistant profit but immense, nah I don't think so.

Oh this is very disturbing.

Posted by filchyboy at November 21, 2002 12:00 AM | TrackBack

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