Hershey and Social Responsibility

Last week, the Hershey company released its Corporate Social Responsibility Report. Like many of such reports, it’s full of pretty pictures and statistics. What it does not mention is that Hershey is the only large chocolate maker in the US which has not yet participated in some form of third party certification for sourcing its cocoa. I’m not talking fair trade here, I’m talking any form of third party certification.

The folks at the International Labor Rights Forum have released their own report and it highlights four areas in which Hershey should make dramatic changes:

  • Sourcing – Hershey has no system in place to ensure that its cocoa is not produced with abusive child labor;
  • Transparency – Hershey does not reveal its cocoa suppliers, making verification impossible;
  • Greenwashing – Hershey points to is donations, but, again, there’s not system in place to address child labor;
  • Certification – Hershey has refused to enter into any certification, only a few of its Dagoba line bars are certified.

Given its long history of concern for  working people and the social conscience of its founder, it remains a puzzle why Hershey is not doing the right thing when it comes to sourcing cocoa from certified reputable sources.

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