Blog: September 2011

Mars Inc. Joins the Fairtrade Movement

As a cocoa industry giant, Mars Inc.’s commitment to take Fairtrade certification requirements seriously is a great step forward in the company’s accountability to consumers and producers alike.  It is also a call to action for other major chocolate companies to follow suit.  This was reiterated by several confectionary industry representatives at the World Cocoa Foundation (WCF) meeting, who took Mars’ announcement as an indication that other companies should step up to the plate and consider adopting Fairtrade certification.  Vice President of Mars Global Chocolate, Barry Parkin, explained: "This agreement is a big step towards fulfilling our shared mission to empower farmers to build vibrant, sustainable livelihoods, and we're very excited to work with Fairtrade on ways to enable com

Rally in NYC Calls on Uzbek President's Daughter to Stop Forced Child Labor in Cotton

The rally yesterday, in combination with the pressure for New York Fashion Week to cancel Karimova's show, was incredibly successful in increasing awareness about forced child labor in Uzbekistan. It's important to remember that beyond Karimova and her fashion show, there continues to be forced child labor in the production of cotton from Uzbekistan. This is a critical human rights issue that affects apparel brands around the world as the cotton ends up in the clothing we buy. All garment companies must step up to prohibit the use of cotton from Uzbekistan as long as the government relies on forced child labor and ensure that a ban on Uzbek cotton is being fully implemented.

Forced Labor in Vietnam: A Violation of ILO Convention 29

The Vietnamese government partners with private companies to use the forced labor in detention centers for producing goods, in some cases for export. According to the Human Rights Watch report, Vietnamese law allows tax exemptions for companies who source products from these centers, making a contract with a detention center very attractive to companies. 

The type of labor performed in the centers includes farming, sewing clothing and shopping bags, working in construction, and manufacturing products made from wood, plastic, bamboo, and rattan. However, the most common form of forced labor (found in 11 of the 16 centers in Ho Chi Minh City) is processing cashews, the second largest agricultural export to the United States.

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