|Harry Potter Chocolate Frogs. Image from Universalorlando.com|
Harry Potter fans channeled the spirit of Dumbledore’s Army to win their latest fight.
After four long years of campaigning Warner Bros., the studio behind the Harry Potter movies, to sell only responsibly sourced Harry Potter chocolates, the Harry Potter Alliance’s (HPA) fan activism has finally paid off.
The HPA’s “Not in Harry’s Name” campaign pushed for Warner Bros., to source all its Harry Potter chocolate through 100 percent UTZ or Fair Trade partners. In a letter to the HPA, the studio pledged to work with suppliers and partners to achieve this goal by the end of 2015.
“Albus Dumbledore told the students of Hogwarts that there are times where we must choose between ‘what is right and what is easy,’” says Andrew Slack, co-founder, HPA. “Warner Bros. has chosen to do the right thing and Harry Potter fans everywhere should take pride knowing that because of their efforts, the chocolate sourcing for Harry Potter products will match the values of the book series.”
“Not in Harry’s Name” began in 2010 when the HPA launched the campaign in a live broadcast with John Green, author of The Fault in Our Stars.
Fans sent cease-and-desist letters and “muggle howlers” to Warner Bros. after the studio’s supplier, Behr’s Chocolate, received an “F” in an independent report. The HPA marketed its own Fair Trade Chocolate Frogs to encourage responsible sourcing.
The efforts to convince the studio to ensure its chocolates are not produced using child labor gained momentum when the campaign teamed up with Walk Free, leaders of the global anti-slavery movement, in 2013.
Then, in the spring of 2014, “Not in Harry’s Name” gained an important ally: J.K. Rowling. Shortly after the author of the Harry Potter books lent her support, the HPA and Walk Free met with Warner Bros. executives, where they presented 400,000 signatures backing their campaign.
“Walk Free and the Harry Potter Alliance united anti-slavery activists and Harry Potter fans in a passionate campaign to make Warner Bros’. Harry Potter chocolates free from child slavery,” says Sarah George, campaigner, Walk Free. “When Warner Bros. announced that these chocolates would be UTZ or Fair Trade certified by the end of 2015, it demonstrated how immensely powerful a group of voices can be.”
“Not in Harry’s Name” is just one of many campaigns by the HPA. The fan alliance, which says it turns fans into heroes by making activism accessible through the power of story, has led more than 40 campaigns in literacy, human rights, equality and empowerment since 2007.