In 2010 Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream announced they were working towards using only Fair Trade Certified ingredients in their products by 2013. Longtime supporters of local farms and non-BGH dairy products, the founders always felt uneasy about the origins of their more exotic ingredients of vanilla, coffee, and cocoa, three industries which frequently use forced, and even child labor. In a press announcement Jerry Greenfield said, "Fair trade is about making sure people get their fair share of the pie. The whole concept of fair trade goes to the heart of our values and the sense of right and wrong. Nobody wants to buy something that was made by exploiting someone else."
Although Ben & Jerry's is definitely priced as a premium ice cream, our family accepts that we are paying for fair wages for their US employees, as well as, those abroad. Also, it makes having ice cream a special treat, as opposed to a standard nightly dessert, which is definitely instilling healthy habits and attitudes in our kids.
Forced labor and especially child labor are really tough topics, and most of us want to believe it isn't that much of a problem anymore, but the reality is in 2012 over 21 million people worldwide are being exploited in forced labor situations and a quarter of those people are children (according to the United Nations' International Labour Organization's latest study). But limiting our consumption of products that typically use forced labor and choosing fair trade when we do buy them is one step towards a solution.