Hershey's Candy and Abusive W. African Child Labor & Slavery

Hershey Highway Leads To Child Labor
By Lee Klein | Miami New Times | May. 20 2010

This past Tuesday was declared I Love Reese's Day by Hershey's -- the makers of Reese's Peanut Butter Cups (which reminds me: more news forthcoming soon on Short Order's I Love Short Order Day). The groups Global Exchange, Green America Today, Oasis USA, and The International Labor Rights Forum didn't take part in the Reese parade, instead using the occasion to highlight Hershey's practice of sourcing chocolate from western Africa -- where some of the poorest cocoa plantations are plagued with forced and child labor (last fall, the US Department of Labor included cocoa from Cameroon, Cote d'Ivoire, Ghana, Guinea and Nigeria on a list of goods produced via unsavory labor practices).

For a corporate responsibility profile of Hershey's, visit Green America's Responsible Shopper Program. After reading it, you may want to satisfy your cocoa crave with a Fair Trade Chocolate bar. If so, go to this list of fair trade retailers.  ...


`I Love Reese`s Day`

Source: CSRwire - Corporate Social Responsibility Newswire
May 18, 2010

Hershey's has declared today, May 18th, to be the official, national 'I Love Reese's Day.' With separate holidays for peanut butter and chocolate, Hershey's thought they needed a separate, official day to celebrate Reese's Peanut Butter Cups. But the marriage of chocolate and peanut butter is hardly reason to celebrate, when Hershey's sources chocolate from western Africa where some of the poorest cocoa plantations are plagued with forced and child labor. That is why our organizations are sharing the top three reasons why we do NOT love Reese's and why all chocolate lovers should not love Reese's today, or any day: Hershey's Sources From Countries With Abusive Child Labor Tulane University's Payson Center for International Development, under contract from the US Department of Labor, has issued reports about labor conditions on cocoa farms in the Ivory Coast and Ghana, where Hershey and other major chocolate companies source much of their cocoa. Tulane's research found children in agricultural households in the Ivory Coast and Ghana are regularly working in cocoa fields and not attending school, and many children are performing dangerous tasks. In 2009, fifteen percent of children surveyed reported forced or involuntary work during the past year. http://www.childlabor-payson.org/ In 2009, Interpol rescued more than 50 children between the ages of 11 to 16 from Côte d'Ivoire and Ghana who were trafficked into these countries and forced to work under extreme conditions without pay and with no access to education. http://www.interpol.int/public/News/2009/CotedIvoire20090803.asp Hershey's Sources From Countries With Forced labor Last fall, the US Department of Labor included cocoa from Cameroon, Côte d'Ivoire, Ghana, Guinea and Nigeria on a list of goods produced by child labor and/or forced labor. http://www.dol.gov/ilab/programs/ocft/pdf/2009tvpra.pdf Failure to Adopt Transparent and Responsible Sourcing Hershey's is not transparent about their sourcing, and has not taken meaningful steps to support responsible sourcing, such as purchasing Fair Trade cocoa, which ensures that farmers earn a fair price and children are not put to work instead of going to school. In 2008 Fortune magazine reported that Hershey's is not playing a direct role in reforming the cocoa industry in the Ivory Coast, which is plagued by child labor practices and other labor violations. Instead, Hershey's (and the cocoa industry in general) contributes to the International Cocoa Initiative (ICI), which is supposed to address labor issues in the Ivory Coast. However, critics maintain that the ICI has limited staff in the Ivory Coast and has done little to end child labor. http://money.cnn.com/2008/01/24/news/international/chocolate_bittersweet.fortune/ For more information on Hershey's please visit Green America's Responsible Shopper Program, which provides a corporate responsibility profile of Hershey's: http://www.greenamericatoday.org/programs/responsibleshopper/company.cfm?id=238 As an alternative to Reese's, you can satisfy your craving for chocolate by choosing a Fair Trade Chocolate bar. To find these options please see Green America's list of fair trade retailers: http://www.greenamericatoday.org/programs/fairtrade/products/wheretobuy.cfm Global Exchange is a membership-based international human rights organization dedicated to promoting social, economic and environmental justice around the world. www.GlobalExchange.org. Information about Global Exchange's Fair Trade Cocoa Campaign is available at: http://www.globalexchange.org/campaigns/fairtrade/cocoa/. Green America 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. www.GreenAmericaToday.org The International Labor Rights Forum is an advocacy organization dedicated to achieving just and humane treatment for workers worldwide. www.LaborRights.org. ILRF provides information about Hershey's cocoa practices at: http://www.laborrights.org/stop-child-forced-labor/cocoa-campaign/why-target-hershey-for-labor-rights-abuses. Oasis USA is a non-profit organization committed to developing communities where everyone is included, making a contribution, and reaching their God-given potential. Oasis USA is the West Coast Office for Stop the Traffik Campaign in the USA. www.OasisUSA.org. Oasis provides information on their chocolate campaign at http://www.oasisusa.org/index.php/projects/the_chocolate_campaign/.


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