Three organizations are targeting the Hershey Co. with a contest they hope will shine light on their claims of child labor and other abuses in the cocoa supply chains - but Hershey contends that it is making an effort to combat unacceptable labor practices.
Green America, Global Exchange and the International Labor Rights Forum (ILRF) are launching a brand-jamming contest to bring attention to its claims, says a media release from the groups. They are asking contestants to create advertisements and slogans that mock versions of Hershey’s promotions, with prizes going to the most creative submissions.
“Hershey lags behind the rest of the industry in failing to have any independent, third party certifications for its cocoa,” says Tim Newman, ILRF campaigns director. “More and more consumers are calling on Hershey to raise the bar and being sourcing Fair Trade Certified cocoa.”
Hershey counters that it “is deeply committed to ensuring that our cocoa is responsibly sourced and that all members of the global supply chain are treated fairly.”
In a statement, Hershey cited the fact that it was a founding member of the World Cocoa Foundation (WCF) and is involved in and supports a number of programs, including: The WCF Sustainable Tree Crops Program, the Farmer Field School Program, the WCF ECHOES Alliance, and the West Africa Cocoal Livelihoods Program.
Hershey also recently launched a program with the U.S. Department of Labor and the cocoa industry to significantly reduce child labor in the cocoa growing areas of Ghana and Cote d’Ivorie. In addition, in early March, the company launched CocoaLink, which connects farmers with agricultural and social information via mobile phones.
“These programs are making progress in improving the well-being of cocoa communities,” Hershey says.
For more information about Hershey, visitwww.hersheys.com. For more information about the brand jamming contest, visitwww.laborrights.org/stop-child-forced-labor/cocoa-campaign/hershey-brand-jamming-contest.
Hershey rebuts criticisms of its efforts to combat child labor
March 30, 2011