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Organizations Question Hershey's
"I Love Reese's" Day
Chocolate + Child Labor Do Not Make for a Holiday.
May 18, 2010
WASINGTON, DC — Hershey’s has declared today, May 18th, to be the official, national “I Love Reese’s Day.” With separate holidays for peanut butter and chocolate, Hershey’s thought they needed a separate, official day to celebrate Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. But the marriage of chocolate and peanut butter is hardly reason to celebrate, when Hershey’s sources chocolate from western Africa where some of the poorest cocoa plantations are plagued with forced and child labor.
That is why our organizations are sharing the top three reasons why we do NOT love Reese’s and why all chocolate lovers should not love Reese’s today, or any day:
Hershey’s Sources From Countries With Abusive Child Labor
Tulane University’s Payson Center for International Development, under contract from the US Department of Labor, has issued reports about labor conditions on cocoa farms in the Ivory Coast and Ghana, where Hershey and other major chocolate companies source much of their cocoa. Tulane’s research found children in agricultural households in the Ivory Coast and Ghana are regularly working in cocoa fields and not attending school, and many children are performing dangerous tasks. In 2009, fifteen percent of children surveyed reported forced or involuntary work during the past year.
In 2009, Interpol rescued more than 50 children between the ages of 11 to 16 from Cote d’Ivoire and Ghana who were trafficked into these countries and forced to work under extreme conditions without pay and with no access to education.
Hershey’s Sources From Countries With Forced labor
Last fall, the US Department of Labor included cocoa from Cameroon, Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Guinea and Nigeria on a list of goods produced by child labor and/or forced labor.
Failure to Adopt Transparent and Responsible Sourcing
Hershey’s is not transparent about their sourcing, and has not taken meaningful steps to support responsible sourcing, such as purchasing Fair Trade cocoa, which ensures that farmers earn a fair price and children are not put to work instead of going to school.
In 2008 Fortune magazine reported that Hershey’s is not playing a direct role in reforming the cocoa industry in the Ivory Coast, which is plagued by child labor practices and other labor violations. Instead, Hershey’s (and the cocoa industry in general) contributes to the International Cocoa Initiative (ICI), which is supposed to address labor issues in the Ivory Coast. However, critics maintain that the ICI has limited staff in the Ivory Coast and has done little to end child labor.
For more information on Hershey’s please visit Green America’s Responsible Shopper Program, which provides a corporate responsibility profile of Hershey’s:
As an alternative to Reese’s, you can satisfy your craving for chocolate by choosing a Fair Trade Chocolate bar. To find these options please see Green America’s list of fair trade retailers:
Global Exchange is a membership-based international human rights organization dedicated to promoting social, economic and environmental justice around the world. www.GlobalExchange.org. Information about Global Exchange’s Fair Trade Cocoa Campaign is available at: http://www.globalexchange.org/campaigns/fairtrade/cocoa/.
Green America is a non-profit organization whose mission is to harness economic power—the strength of consumers, investors, businesses, and the marketplace—to create a socially just and environmentally sustainable society. www.GreenAmericaToday.org
The International Labor Rights Forum is an advocacy organization dedicated to achieving just and humane treatment for workers worldwide. www.LaborRights.org. ILRF provides information about Hershey’s cocoa practices at: http://www.laborrights.org/stop-child-forced-labor/cocoa-campaign/why-target-hershey-for-labor-rights-abuses.
Oasis USA is a non-profit organization committed to developing communities where everyone is included, making a contribution, and reaching their God-given potential. Oasis USA is the West Coast Office for Stop the Traffik Campaign in the USA. www.OasisUSA.org. Oasis provides information on their chocolate campaign at http://www.oasisusa.org/index.php/projects/the_chocolate_campaign/.
Please contact Todd Larsen by email