On October 3rd 2012, Hershey announced that by 2020 it would transition all its chocolate products to certified cocoa sources to address labor and environmental issues. The announcement resulted from hundreds of thousands of people calling on Hershey to end its reliance on forced child labor in West Africa.
After Hershey’s announcement, the Raise the Bar, Hershey Campaign called on Hershey to reveal the details of this 2020 plan including which certifiers Hershey planned to work with and what the timeline would be for transitioning to ethically certified cocoa. A public plan with clear benchmarks is essential to ensure that Hershey stays on track to meet this commitment, and so that the public can hold the company accountable, should Hershey once again drag its feet.
Now, six months later, Hershey has made no further announcements about ethically certified chocolate offerings. Nor has Hershey revealed any further information on its plan to shift its entire cocoa supply to ethically certified sources of cocoa.
For too many years, the chocolate industry, and Hershey in particular, has delayed taking action on the worst forms of child labor on West African cocoa farms.
The Raise the Bar Hershey coalition is calling on Hershey to provide a public plan to reach it 2020 goal of 100% ethically certified cocoa. Seven years may seem like nothing to a more than 120-year-old company, but it’s an excruciatingly long time for a child working on a cocoa farms through the day and night in the Ivory Coast or Ghana. That’s why Hershey needs a plan to start going child-labor free with its biggest selling products soon.
This plan should include:
1. Clear Benchmarks: A public, clear, and transparent timeline, with incremental benchmarks to meet the 2020 100% certified commitment. We need to see one major product, or at least 20% of Hershey’s cocoa certified by 2014.
2. Transparency: A commitment to report publicly and annually about progress, in relation to the timeline/benchmarks set to shift to ethically certified cocoa (from #1 above), and the actual impacts achieved for farmers, children, and communities (including quantitative measures).
3. Stakeholder Process: Hershey will agree to meet with stakeholders at least semi-annually to provide updates on progress made or not made.
4. Credible Certification: A commitment to using a third-party certification that meaningfully addresses child labor issues, including identification, monitoring, and remediation (the certification body can work in partnership with local NGOs and government, but there must be a systematic approach to handling child labor if and when it arises) and provides for secure farmer incomes, with a set floor price for cocoa that is announced publicly.
The Raise the Bar, Hershey! Coalition will continue to hold Hershey accountable for the treatment of cocoa laborers, especially the youngest of them, with the smallest of voices. And, we need the help of thousands of consumers to make sure Hershey takes action to address child labor.
Please join us in sending a message to Hershey today. Please send Hershey an email today!
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