Goldenhorse singer Kirsten Morrell today showed where her heart was on Valentine's Day by puckering up and adding her lips to Oxfam's Chocolate Kiss petition outside Nestlé's Auckland headquarters.
Calling on Nestlé to help kiss poverty goodbye, Oxfam presented the chocolate giant with an unconventional Valentine’s gift - over 7,000 petition cards from New Zealanders calling on the chocolate industry to sweeten its cocoa sourcing practices and switch to fair trade.
“Poverty is wide-spread amongst cocoa farmers in West Africa and even more worrying is the use of slave labour on some cocoa farms,” says Oxfam Fair Trade Coordinator Linda Broom. “We’re asking the chocolate industry to pay fair, stable prices so that farmers can work their way out of poverty through fair trade.”
Nestlé is currently being sued by a US labour rights organisation for the alleged involvement in the trafficking, torture and forced labour of children on the farms that supply Nestlé’s cocoa. It is estimated that up to 12,000 children are working as slaves in West Africa (IITA, 2002).
“I don’t want the products that I buy for myself to be tarnished with slavery and poverty,” explains Morrell. “As consumers in New Zealand we don’t always realise that we have a very powerful voice – we can make the change.”
“It’s not enough to be cynical anymore – fair trade works. We have the information, it’s there. We just need to use it.”