Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Harry Potter and the Fair Trade Controversy...

I think most of you already know my opinion on human slavery.  In fact, some of you may remember back a few months ago when I made us all feel like awful human beings by showing us what our slavery footprint was.

Yeah, sorry about that.

But the reason I'm bringing it up again isn't to make you all feel horrendously guilty, it's to tell you all about something that the Harry Potter Alliance are currently trying to do.

Okay, I can hear you all saying "Wait up, the Harry Potter Alliance?  What is that, some sort of role playing game?"

Well possibly, I don't know what they do in their spare time, but the HPA is a charitable group of Harry Potter fans who work together to raise money for different causes.  Just to give you an idea of the scope of what they've managed to accomplish, they raised enough money to charter and fill five planes with things to send over to Haiti back when all the trouble was happening.  Seriously, FIVE WHOLE CARGO PLANES!

Consider it a lesson in never underestimating a bunch of nerds when it comes to getting shit done.

But recently the HPA has turned it's attention to child slavery, specifically in the manufacturing of chocolate.  They wanted to find out if Warner Brothers was using Fair Trade chocolate in its Harry Potter merchandise, so they sent them a letter to ask.

The reply they got was that, yes, Warner Brother did use non-slavery chocolate in their goods as per their ethical sourcing guidelines.  However, when the HPA checked with an external organisation that specialises in assessing organisations for things like this, they were told that WB actually received a failing grade when it came to using Fair Trade chocolate.

Hmm, sounds a bit suspicious, doesn't it.

When the HPA took this news back to Warner Brothers, they were told that WB had done their own report and that they were satisfied with the results of it, but when the HPA asked to see a copy of it, they refused.

Even more suspicious.

So now HPA has started a petition to try and get Warner Brothers to show a copy of this report that they claim to have.  Go have a read and if you agree that it all seems a bit fishy, feel free to sign it.

Personally, I think things like this are incredibly important.  It's one thing if a company chooses to use chocolate that isn't Fair Trade, but to say yours is when external groups are saying it isn't, and then to refuse to show the evidence you supposedly have, well that's quite frankly reprehensible.

I have enough human slavery bad karma all of my own, Warner Brothers, I don't need to be drawn in as an unwitting participant in yours too.

29 comments:

  1. I agree, doing it and being open is fine, because then people can make their own choice about whether or not to buy your product. But to do it and lie about it is terrible, because you are duping people into buying a product they might not have otherwise. Which is exactly the point, I'm sure.

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    1. It just seems so suspicious. If they don't have anything to hide, then why all the hiding?

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  2. Those are some seriously devoted fans. And Warner Brothers, why do you have to be so dodgy? Sad face.

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    1. They're pretty awesome, aren't they. I love when people can use their nerdy obsessions to do good in the world.

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  3. Hmmm... sounds like something's rotten in Denmark for sure.

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  4. Awwwww man, now I have to worry about fair trade chocolate? First diamonds, then bananas (or reverse the order, not sure), shoes, clothes, and now chocolate? Sigh. I hope coffee isn't...what now? Coffee has some ties to slavery too? Damn. I'm switching to only eating what I grow.

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    1. I don't have to worry about bananas, we grow our own here. But I do have some diamonds. Does it count if they're antiques?

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  5. I make all my food, clothing & furniture at home so I don't have to deal with people like that--by "I", I mean all those people that I own!

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  6. Yay for nerds! I always buy fair trade chocolate, tastes better anyways

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  7. Nerds... Breaking up one child slavery ring at a time. Gangsta style.

    Hugs!

    Valerie

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    1. Oh yeah, we Harry Potter fans are so thug!

      Is that still an expression? I'm not up with what the kids are saying these days. Damn kids, get off my lawn!

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  8. I don't even know what to say about this. I'm like super impressed that there even IS an HPA but I'm disgusted with WB.

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    1. It's a bit scary, isn't it. A group that are supposed to exist to make kids happy, possibly using goods made with child labor.

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  9. Bravo HPA!
    Shame on WB for being so shady.

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    1. It's just so sketchy. If they don't have anything to hide, then why all the hiding?

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  10. I like harry potter he my favorite actor, checkouit my blog at
    http://definingwords.blogspot.com/2012/08/romantic-words.html
    feel free to leave a comment

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  11. I wish them the best of luck. It's unfortunate that one of the more powerful companies in America might be using slave labor to create anything, let alone Harry Potter merchandise.

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    1. It's just so unnecessary. It's not like there are no other options.

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  12. Transparancy on a lot of things is there to keep honest people honest. When you are doing the right thing, you have no problem showing people the books, the information to back up your statements and the facts. Wish there were more transparancy on a lot of things in life. Might make things actually happen for the better and certainly for the greater good of mankind.

    Warner Bros. doesn't sound like they are putting their best foot forward on this one. Maybe this will have the ripple effect on all of their products? It could very well happen. If they are being sketchy on this- what else are they hiding?

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    1. We can only hope. Big companies like that only respond to public pressure, thus the petition.

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  13. I had no idea about this Harry Potter Alliance but I went to the site and it's very interesting. They appear to be doing a lot of good things which is always a good thing. Thanks for posting.

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    1. They're a wonderful group, and purely fan run. It's just a bunch of people who love something, using their time to do good things.

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  14. Huh, even though the series ended the fans are still this hardcore? And doing charity work?

    Impressive.

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  15. Fans of anything can be properly motivated to do good things so good for the Harry Potter fans for standing up for what they believe in. I'd like to say I was part of the solution but I really don't eat a lot of chocolate and haven't bought anything related to Harry Potter like ever. I will pass it on to my Harry Potter friends though.

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