Posted by: w00107746 | February 21, 2008

Meeting with President Crutcher

Yesterday Caleb, Julia, Giuliana, Max and Ryan sat down for a long-awaited conversation with President Crutcher. At the end of the meeting, we were ecstatic with the amount of support we received from President Crutcher and are excited about the upcoming opportunities.

President Crutcher agreed to call Mrs. Mars and see if she has any time to fit is into her busy schedule this upcoming weekend when she comes for the Wheaton Trustees meeting. At the very least, we will be able to send a formal letter to Mrs. Mars explaining our movement and what we’re hoping to achieve. He is also setting us up with a meeting with Frank Mars on March 19 so we can discuss the issue of Fair Trade and the Mars Corporation. The head lawyer for the Mars Corporation who has been working in West Africa will also be coming to campus and we will be able to meet with him as well later this semester.

It’s exciting to have so much support for this movement, to have so many students, faculty, and staff engaged in this issue, and to actually see our objectives being met!

But there is still much to be done. Our future plans include bringing speakers to campus regarding fair-trade chocolate, and bringing this movement outside of the Wheaton bubble.

John Mars is an alum of Yale, and also a large contributor, and we will be contacting the individuals involved in the Workers Rights Consortium (WRC) there hoping to broaden this petition and engage another community in the fight for Fair Trade to end Child Labor.

We will be contacting the Fair Labor Association (FLA), the WRC, Global Exchange, and Equal Exchange to spread the news of our movements success and enlist others to help us work for positive change in the cocoa industry.

Thanks so much to everyone for all their continued support!

-WFT

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Responses

  1. As a member of the Fair Trade community (I work at the Fair Trade co-operative Equal Exchange in W. Bridgewater) I commend your group on your efforts.

    I’ve been our point person on the issue of forced child labor issue and would be glad to assist you if I can, especially as regards gathering up-to-date information on what the industry is, and is not, doing about the problem.

    For example, the Mars family (or their representatives) will probably point out their recent decision to source Utz certified cocoa from West Africa. But they probably will not tell you how lax Utz standards are, or that at current projections, there will be no Utz certified cocoa available until 2010 at the earliest.

    You may also want to know about a “Commitment to Ethical Cocoa Sourcing” that you, or even Wheaton College, could choose to endorse. Already over 60 businesses, human rights groups, faith-based groups and others have signed on. You can read it at: http://www.equalexchange.com/reverse-sign-up/CommitmentToEthicalCocoaSourcing.pdf

    For Valentine’s Day we and our allies set bouquets of Fair Trade roses to the CEO of Mars, and other leading chocolate companies, asking them to sign the Commitment. Unsurprisingly, we have not heard back from any of them.

    Sincerely, Rodney North
    http://www.equalexchange.coop
    774 776 7398


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