A win has been made for wizards and muggles alike with the announcement that Harry Potter--branded chocolates, sold at Universal Studio's Wizarding World of Harry Potter and at major retailers, will use cocoa that is fair-trade-, or Utz-, certified.
The catalyst of the announcement was a campaign initiated by the Harry Potter Alliance (HPA), an organization with a staff of more than 60 volunteers and 295 chapters throughout the world. The HPA uses parallels from Harry Potter books to inspire hundreds of fans to "act as heroes in our world." So far, the alliance has sent five cargo planes to Haiti, donated nearly 200,000 books across the globe, and has made contributions to causes ranging from LGBTQ equality to environmental reform. Its latest cause was to engage Warner Bros. to make all Harry Potter chocolate fair trade.
The alliance was successful in its attempts, releasing a letter from Joshua A. Berger, president, Harry Potter global franchise development of Warner Bros. Entertainment U.K., which states that "by the end of 2015, and sooner when possible, all Harry Potter chocolate products sold at Warner Bros. outlets and through our licensed partners will be 100-percent Utz- or fair-trade-certified."
Matt Maggiacomo, executive director of the HPA, says that having Harry Potter chocolates fair-trade-certified was an important campaign for his group because of the way much of non-fair-trade cocoa is sourced. "The cocoa industry is complicated, and fair trade or Utz certification is the only way to guarantee that child labor and slavery weren't involved in the harvesting process. We believe that any product sold under the Harry Potter brand should be consistent with the morals and ethics of the Harry Potter series. Child slavery is a real-world horcrux that Harry and his friends would have wanted to destroy." A horcrux, for all you muggles out there, is an object or talisman that holds a part of a dark wizard's soul, used to obtain power or immortality.
Maggiacomo is more than pleased about the decision by Warner Bros. Entertainment, telling New Times, "It feels absolutely wonderful to achieve a victory of this magnitude. It's especially encouraging when major corporations take the time to listen to their consumers. Everyone who has participated in this campaign is a loyal customer of Warner Bros., specifically their Harry Potter products but also many other franchises. We love their products, and we want those products to be produced ethically."
Maggiacomo adds that in the end, the boy wizard who stands up against evil in the world would very much approve of his chocolate frogs being fair-trade-certified -- and so would his fans. "We are grateful that Warner Bros. has chosen to honor the voices of their customers and align their products with the morals of Harry Potter."
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