Green America Takes on Hershey – Every Child Deserves a Childhood!

The momentum for this continues to grow and on April 28, I had the exciting opportunity to be travel to Hershey, PA to attend Hershey’s Annual Stockholder meeting.

At the meeting I asked Hershey CEO, David J. West, when the company planned to achieve Fair Trade certification in order to ensure that its cocoa is not harvested using harmful child labor. I was able to point out the facts before us: The report by the Department of Labor/Tulane University (released March 2011) recommends that all chocolate companies adopt independent third-party certification to prevent child labor, and the fact that many of Hershey’s competitors are already offering responsibly sourced chocolate products.

I also let Hershey know that, to date, over 30,000 people have supported the Raise The Bar Hershey campaign, and that this campaign will only continue to gain momentum as the demand for responsibly made products increases.

Unfortunately, I was not satisfied with Hershey’s answers to my questions. As usual, the company deferred to its support of the World Cocoa Foundation, an initiative funded by the chocolate industry. According to reports conducted by Department of Labor/Tulane University, the projects of the World Cocoa Foundation have not gone far enough to stop child labor in the cocoa sector and it’s unclear how much money Hershey has actually contributed. However, I believe that by my being there we were able to spark the company’s interest and add a face to the more than 30,000 people who have taken action. I also believe that this will lead to a productive dialogue with Hershey about Fair Trade certification.

What’s next? We need to keep the pressure on Hershey. The company executives are beginning to get it. We will not be satisfied until Hershey removes child labor as one of the ingredients in its products.

We call on Hershey to be a leader in the chocolate industry and work to ensure the future sustainability of cocoa—a goal that serves not only cocoa farming communities around the world, but chocolate companies like Hershey and chocolate-lovers alike.

Every child deserves a childhood!

Take Action:

Join us at one of our upcoming Green Festivals in Chicago -May 14 and Seattle -May 21 to view the documentary The Dark Side of Chocolate. www.greenfestivals.org

Share our recent Hershey Brand Jam winners with all your friends and social networks. (link www.raisethebarhershey.org/brandjamwinners )

To keep the pressure on Hershey sign our petition (link: https://www.greenamerica.org/takeaction/hershey/) and stay informed about upcoming campaign actions. (www.raisethebarhershey.org/take-action)

On World Fair Trade Day – May 14 organize an event in your own community to support Fair Trade such as a Fair Trade chocolate tasting or a screening of the Dark side of Chocolate. http://www.greenamerica.org/programs/fairtrade/MovieScreening.cfm

If you live in the New York City join us for a rally at the Hershey store in Times Square on June 8th in recognition of the World Day Against Child Labor. (www.raisethebarhershey.org/rally)