A group of fairtrade activists chose Valentine's Day to launch a new campaign to highlight ethical trading issues in the cocoa and chocolate industry.

Global Exchange, a group of activists based in San Francisco, is spearheading a campaign against local player See's Candies and other chocolate companies, including Mars and Hershey. They are hoping to pressure the companies into sourcing at least some of their chocolate requirements from manufacturers that offer a fair price to cocoa growers in Latin America and Africa.

The group has moved onto chocolate from coffee. Its extended campaign to urge coffee retailers to source their raw materials in accordance with fairtrade guidelines ended in numerous retailers, including Starbucks, selling fairtrade coffee. The Seattle coffee giant agreed to buy one million pounds of fairly traded coffee over the coming 12 to 18 months.

See's released a statement saying the company is "only indirectly related to the problem" because See's does not purchase cocoa beans".