On January 30th, The Hershey Company announced that it would make a commitment to purchasing Rainforest Alliance Certified cocoa for all of its Bliss Chocolate products, starting later this year.
This commitment is a welcome first step for Hershey to improve its supply chain accountability. This is the first commitment that Hershey has made to using an independent, third -party certification system to ensure that its cocoa is grown sustainably, including the monitoring of forced and child labor.
This commitment also demonstrates that The Hershey Company acknowledges the severity of the labor abuses that taint the West African cocoa sector, from where Hershey sources the majority of its cocoa.
The members of the Raise the Bar, Hershey! Campaign congratulate Hershey on this first step to achieve greater supply chain accountability and hope that it will be the beginning of comprehensive supply chain traceability and certified child-labor free Hershey chocolate products.
We declare partial victory today because of this announcement. We achieved this through sustained, consistent consumer-based advocacy targeted at Hershey. We collected over 100,000 petition signatures, through Change.org and other sources, and organized petition deliveries, brandjamming contests, protests and Facebook rallies to blanket Hershey's wall with messages.
Hershey made its announcement less than one week after we announced that an ad would run during the Super Bowl that would highlight the company's use of child slavery in cocoa production.
While this is a tremendous step, the Raise the Bar, Hershey! Coalition will not end our advocacy here. We will continue to work to end child labor and exploitation in the cocoa industry and to push Hershey to increase traceability and justice throughout its chocolate supply chain.