Recently, Stephen Colbert has made several references to Reese's, a Hershey product, being a sponsor of his Rally to Keep Fear Alive and Reese's advertises heavily during his show. On October 13, Colbert posted on Twitter: "Just a reminder that my fear march is sponsored by Reese's - the candy with something to hide. Specifically peanut butter." But maybe Colbert doesn't know that Hershey has something much bigger it is hiding: forced labor, child labor and trafficking in its supply chain.
Despite the ongoing evidence of these egregious human rights violations in West Africa's cocoa industry, Hershey lags behind its competitors in tracing its cocoa supply chain and instituting labor rights standards among its suppliers. Hershey can raise the bar by shifting its purchases to Fair Trade Certified cocoa.
Stephen Colbert has effectively used his particular brand of humor to shed light on child labor globally and abuses faced by agricultural workers in the U.S. Let's ask him to reveal the frightening truth behind Reese's and other Hershey products!
Photo credit: Smiteme
You were right. Reese’s does have something to hide, but it’s something much more terrifying than peanut butter. The cocoa that is used to make Hershey’s chocolate products, such as Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, is likely to have been harvested with the use of forced labor, trafficked labor, and the worst forms of child labor.
Reports of abusive child labor, trafficking, and forced labor in the production of cocoa have been circulating since 2001. And while chocolate companies including Hershey promised to eliminate these egregious abuses in their cocoa supply chains at the time, the problems continue today almost a decade later.
While some major chocolate companies have taken additional steps to trace their global cocoa sources and institute additional labor and environmental standards for their suppliers, Hershey has taken no such steps and has been an industry laggard in agreeing to any forms of transparency.
I appreciate how you have used humor in the past to highlight child labor globally, the injustices faced by agricultural workers in the U.S. and many other import issues. Also, I'm happy that your Americone Dream ice cream is produced by Ben & Jerry's, a company that has committed to sourcing all of its ingredients as Fair Trade Certified that can be by 2013. Will you now shed light on Hershey's frightening cocoa sourcing?
By revealing what it is that Reese’s is truly hiding, child labor, you can help us to put the pressure on Hershey, and get the company to Raise the Bar when it comes to its cocoa souring policies.