Hershey is America’s favorite chocolate brand, accounting for 42.5% of the US market. Yet, inside almost every Hershey chocolate product is the bitter truth that the cocoa used to produce the chocolate may very well have been produced under harmful conditions, including forced labor, human trafficking, and abusive child labor.
Since at least 2001, the Hershey Company has been aware of the problems that exist at the start of its supply chain, yet it continues to source from this region without ensuring that labor rights abuses do not occur in the production of the cocoa it uses.
Here is a summary of why we are asking Hershey to Raise The Bar:
|Sourcing||Much of Hershey’s cocoa is sourced from West Africa, a region plagued by forced labor, human trafficking and abusive child labor. Hershey does not have a system in place to ensure that its cocoa purchases from this region are not tainted by labor rights abuses.|
|Transparency||Hershey continuously refuses to identify its cocoa suppliers; therefore it is impossible to verify that its chocolate was not made under conditions of abusive child labor.|
|Certification||A reputable, independent, third-party certification can ensure that a process is in place to identify and remediate labor rights abuses. For cocoa, the strongest certification system currently available is Fair Trade. Unlike many of its competitors, Hershey’s has not embraced certification. Only one of Hershey’s chocolate bars, in its Dagoba line, is Fair Trade Certified.|
|Laggard||Hershey lags behind its competitors when it comes to purchasing cocoa that has been certified to meet certain labor, social, and environmental standards. Most major chocolate companies offer Fair Trade options now, and many smaller companies have been 100% Fair Trade for years.|
|Greenwashing||Hershey points to various charitable donations to children in the US and programs in West Africa as examples of its social responsibility, yet has no policies in place to ensure that the cocoa used in its products is not produced with forced, trafficked, or child labor.|