So, Whole Foods Market has made quite the scene lately. Let’s look at one of their very bad decisions first…
It’s no big secret that Hershey supports forced child labor, child trafficking and non-Fair Trade cocoa. Hershey says they’re trying to change, but in reality they take just about the smallest steps possible when it comes to change.
Because Hershey will do nothing concrete to change, in August a coalition of food coops and natural grocers called out Hershey. In total, 41 consumer-owned grocery cooperatives and natural food retailers operating 65 stores released an open letter in August, telling the Hershey Company to take action to end child slave labor on cocoa farms in the Ivory Coast (Côte D’Ivoire) and to fully commit to ethically sourced cocoa produced under fair labor standards.
Whole Foods, arguably the largest retailer of organics flat out refused to sign the letter. A seriously lame move because Whole Foods’ voice in particular could make a gigantic impact on this issue.
Whole Foods reason for not signing the letter to Hershey…
Whole Foods’ statement is as follows:
“We evaluate only products being considered for sale within our stores…We do not include in our review any operational or management decisions of the (supplier).”
Green America points out that basically this means that “Whole Foods is happy to buy Hershey’s chocolates even if the vast majority of Hershey’s profits are tainted by child labor cocoa.”
I’m calling Whole Foods out because they’re saying that they do not consider operational issues their issue, but that statement is 100% NOT true. Which leads me to the good news about Whole Foods.
Whole Foods new organic body care policy
In 2010, due to shoddy organic body care labeling, Whole Foods decided to take things into their own hands and demanded that as of June 11, 2011, all organic personal care products sold in their U.S. stores MUST BE certified organic. As of this week, that demand has come true. Whole Foods just released a statement noting that as of now, all of their body care has been switched into the new program.
This is awesome news for consumers, because it means that any body care products, including cosmetics, soaps, shaving cream, shampoo and more that you see at Whole Foods, that says, “Organic” on the label, is REALLY organic.
Now, although I completely applaud the new Whole Foods body care standards, it begs the question, how is Whole Foods not involved in “Operational or management decisions of suppliers,” as stated in their Hershey comment.
Fact – Whole Foods new body care standards meant that many Whole Foods suppliers had to become officially certified organic by the USDA National Organic Program, and/or change their labels and/or reformulate their products to comply with National Organic Program guidelines.
Is this Whole Food NOT being involved in supplier issues, or totally being involved? I’d say they’re involved. Wouldn’t you? Making operations go organic is a good choice, but also a time consuming and expensive move. Going organic is a major deal, one involving operational and management decisions being controlled by Whole Foods.
The fact that they won’t take on Hershey due to “not wanting to get involved with supply issues” is ironic under the circumstances.
Soap image ©Whole Foods Market®