Hershey: Innocent Children Behind Bars

Hershey’s chocolate has always been my favorite. It seems as though most of America agrees with me considering that Hershey accounts for 42.5% of the US market. Yet, inside almost every Hershey chocolate product is the bitter truth that the cocoa used to produce the chocolate may have been produced under harmful conditions, including forced labor, human trafficking, and abusive child labor.


Since at least 2001, the Hershey Company has been aware of the problems that exist at the start o its supply chain, yet it continues to source from this region without ensuring that the labor rights abuses do not occur in the production of the cocoa it uses (anyone else thinking of Apple right now?).

One potential solution that Hershey could utilize to combat these injustices present in their supply chain is to have a reputable, independent, third-party certification that will ensure that a process is in place to identify and remediate labor rights abuses. For cocoa, the strongest certification system currently available is Fair Trade. Unlike many of its competitors, Hershey’s has not embraced certification. In fact, only one of Hershey’s chocolate bars is Fair Trade Certified.

Moreover, much of Hershey’s cocoa is sourced from West Africa, a region plagued by forced labor, human trafficking and abusive child labor (I am talking about hundreds of thousands of children here). Hershey needs to develop a system to ensure that its cocoa purchases from this region are not tainted by labor rights abuses.

Check out this one-minute clip:


These are just a few of the many problems that I have seen thus far in my investigation of Hershey. I look forward to exploring the company more in upcoming Paper 2.