Approximately 1.7 million children work in horrible, dangerous conditions in the West African cocoa industry. While many chocolate companies have committed to guaranteeing that their suppliers do not use child slave labor, Hershey’s refuses to release information about its supply chain or purchase cocoa only from ethical suppliers except in two product lines, Bliss and Dagoba. Because of this, Hershey’s can’t guarantee that the cocoa in most of their chocolate was not harvested by kids, who frequently don’t get enough to eat, don’t have access to medicine, and can’t get an education.
The Raise the Bar Hershey’s campaign has sent a petition to Hershey’s Board of Directors asking them to responsibly source cocoa from independently certified suppliers who comply with international labor rights standards. Hershey’s failed to respond, so this petition will go to the Milton Hershey School Trust, who owns a large part of Hershey’s Chocolate Company, as well.
Valentines Day is a huge money-maker in the chocolate industry and a great opportunity for us to make a difference.
As stated on the front page of your website, “Mr. Hershey established the Milton Hershey School and School Trust to provide full-time education and care for disadvantaged children…” I applaud this initiative but consider it unfortunate that the Hershey’s Chocolate Company, which you own, is profiting from the exploitation of children in West Africa. Hershey’s recent decision to make their Bliss line ethically sourced is great but should go farther.
Hershey’s fails to track or publish their supply chain and thus cannot guarantee the working conditions or age of cocoa farmers working for them. This is highly inconsistent with your stated goals , and you have the power to change this horrible exploitation. As major stockholders of Hershey’s Chocolate Company, you must require a policy change, as described by the Raise the Bar campaign and stop Hershey’s from using child slave labor. Hershey’s actions are preventing children in West Africa from acquiring the education and care that all children need and your mission is to provide.