October, 2010Good news for parents this Halloween: It's easier than ever to avoid buying chocolate from Hershey, the largest U.S. chocolate company. Hershey fails to ensure that child labor is not part of its chocolate. Two major reports this September called out Hershey's failure and the prevalence of egregious child labor, forced labor and trafficking abuses in the cocoa sector in Côte d'Ivoire and Ghana where Hershey sources much of its cocoa.
Just in time for Halloween, Thanksgiving and the December holidays, the independent, non-profit Green America has outlined seven ways to find and give Fair Trade chocolate people can feel good about, and take constructive actions to get Hershey to go Fair Trade.
Green America Corporate Social Responsibility Director, Todd Larsen, said: "We understand that parents who may become aware of the concerns regarding Hershey chocolate and abusive child labor may feel powerless to do anything about it. That's why we want them to know that there are constructive actions they can take to make a difference. While Hershey pays its CEO $8 million annually, the company is doing little to end the practice of forced child labor in cocoa-growing regions, where many children are not paid for their labor and are abused. This corporate giant is hoping that parents will throw up their hands and just go along as they always have in the past. Our message is simple: You can be sure that you are not putting child slave labor in your child's Halloween bag or those of other children."
On September 30, 2010, The Payson Center for International Development at Tulane University released its fourth annual report on Oversight of Public and Private Initiatives to Eliminate the Worst Forms of Child Labor in the Cocoa Sector in Côte d'Ivoire and Ghana. The report underscores the lack of progress that is being made by voluntary programs adopted by the cocoa industry to address the problems of child and forced labor in West Africa. In response, national non-profits Global Exchange, Green America, International Labor Rights Forum, and Oasis USA called on Hershey, the largest US chocolate company, to take action to end child and forced labor in its supply chain and to adopt Fair Trade Certified cocoa.
Available online at http://childlabor-payson.org, the report identifies the ongoing exploitation of labor rights in the cocoa sector including the worst forms of child labor, forced labor and trafficking. New research related to the trafficking of young workers from Burkina Faso and Mali found that:
Also released in September, the report "Time to Raise the Bar: the Real CSR Report for the Hershey Company" (issued by Global Exchange, Green America, International Labor Rights Forum, and Oasis USA) found that the Hershey corporation was the laggard in the cocoa industry regarding monitoring its supply chain. The report also found that Hershey lacked transparency and traceability when it came to its cocoa sourcing, as well as meaningful programs to address labor violations in the cocoa-growing communities of West Africa, from where it sources. As the dominant chocolate company in the US, the report calls on Hershey to "Raise the Bar" and adopt Fair Trade Certification for its best selling bar by 2012, and all of its top selling chocolate products by 2022."
"Time to Raise the Bar: The Real CSR Report for the Hershey Company" is available at http://www.greenamerica.org/pdf/HersheyReport.pdf.
ABOUT GREEN AMERICA
Green America (http://www.GreenAmerica.org) is a non-profit organization whose mission is to harness economic power - the strength of consumers, investors, businesses, and the marketplace - to create a socially just and environmentally sustainable society. http://www.greenamericatoday.org/