Hershey Melts Under NFP Pressure on Child Labour
8 October 2012 at 12:07 pm
Hersheys has committed to sourcing 100% certified cocoa and eliminating child labour in the cocoa regions of West Africa. Photo: talkafrique.com
The Uniting Church in Australia and other global Not for Profits have scored a victory against chocolate producer Hershey in their campaign to help eliminate child labour in West Africa.
The Hershey Company has announced it will now source 100% certified cocoa for its global chocolate product lines by 2020 and accelerate its programs to help eliminate child labour in the cocoa regions of West Africa.
The announcement comes just two weeks after the Uniting Church in Australia released its chocolate scorecard which accused Hershey’s of doing the least to tackle the problem of all the major companies currently selling chocolate in Australia.
Hersheys said in a statement that certified cocoa will be verified through independent auditors to assure that it is grown in line with the highest internationally recognised standards for labour, environmental and better farming practices.
Hersheys believes its 2020 purchasing commitment should significantly expand the global supply of certified cocoa, particularly from West Africa, which produces about 70% of the world’s cocoa.
“Consistent with Hershey’s values, we are directly addressing the economic and social issues that impact West Africa’s two million cocoa farmers and families,” President and Chief Executive of Hershey’s, J.P. Bilbrey said.
“Expanding the use of certified cocoa across our iconic chocolate brands while working with public and private partners, demonstrates Hershey’s responsible sourcing practices.
“I am confident that we can make a substantial difference in West Africa by 2020.”
Meanwhile, Uniting Church bodies in Australia have welcomed the announcement.
“The Hershey announcement is fantastic news for the children and farmers in West Africa, provided it is backed up by efforts to address the poverty on cocoa farms in that region,” social justice spokesperson for the Uniting Church in Victoria and Tasmania, Dr Mark Zirnsak said.
“The announcement is a testament to the efforts by US campaigners over a number of years, including the International Labor Rights Forum, Green America and the United Methodist Women.
“Australian campaigners also recently supported putting pressure on The Hershey Company by taking action through a postcard campaign to the CEO.”
Associate General Secretary of the Uniting Church in Western Australia, Rosemary Hudson Miller, said: “The Hershey company needs to provide clear milestones on how it will meet its 2020 commitment, so consumers can be clear there is a consistent effort to get to this goal.”