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JUNE 12, 2012

Day of Action: Ask Hershey to Go Fair Trade

More than ten years after companies like Hershey committed to ending child labor, forced labor and trafficking in their supply chains, these abuses continue in West Africa.  Hershey is currently lagging behind its competitors in using cocoa that has been certified by independent third parties to comply with international labor rights standards.  June 12 is World Day Against Child Labor and we’re calling on Hershey to do more to stop these abuses by committing to sourcing Fair Trade cocoa. 

Show your support by calling Hershey right now! Here is how:

1-800-468-1714, Dial "0"

You may need to push Zero three times to get to an operator. Press 2 if you do not want to participate in survey. Back-up number is 717-534-4200. 


"Hi, my name is ___ and I’m calling from ___. I am a huge fan of [insert your favorite HERSHEY candy here]*. I’m calling today in recognition of "World Day Against Child Labor" and because I want Hershey to commit to buying cocoa that has been harvested without the use of child labor. Ten years after Hershey committed to ending child labor, forced labor and trafficking in its cocoa, the abuses continue in West Africa. Many of your competitors have committed to certifying all their products child-labor-free, but you continue to drag your feet.

I also want to know that all the workers who had a hand in making my chocolate – from bean to bar – were treated fairly.  Will Hershey take this opportunity to be more transparent about your supply chain and do more to protect the rights of workers in the fields and in your factories?

Thank you for your time!

*If you only buy Fair Trade, some alternatives are:

  • Omitting this phrase when you call
  • As a kid, my favorite Hershey bar was ______
  • My niece/nephew or grandchild’s favorite Hershey bar is ______
  • My favorite chocolate bar is Dagoba’s Fair Trade Certified™ Conacado bar (Hershey owns Dagoba.)



Before you call, you may wish to review some issues that Hershey may bring up while on the phone with you. Do not feel that you need to respond to their arguments, but we wanted to be sure that you feel equipped to understand some of the issues they may raise. They are available here. If you receive a response from Hershey or have any questions, please do let us know!

Thank you for your ongoing commitment to improving the lives of workers around the world and stopping child labor!

Why Hershey?

  • For years, major chocolate companies have known that the worst forms of child labor and trafficked labor are used in the production of the cocoa beans they purchase from West Africa, particularly Cote d’Ivoire. Many companies use third-party certification programs in order to ensure that certain labor and environmental standards are met in the production of the cocoa they use in their chocolate. There are a number of certification programs related to cocoa production and many of them involve labels that communicate to consumers what standards were used in the production of the cocoa they are about to enjoy.
  • Last year, Mars committed to independently certifying its entire supply chain for cocoa by 2020, and this year revealed they are on track to meet this goal. Green & Black’s committed to moving their entire line of chocolate bars worldwide to Fair Trade, starting in mid 2010.  Cadbury has been selling the Fair Trade Dairy Milk bar (their number #1 selling bar) since March 2009, and Nestlé offers a Fair Trade Kit Kat bar in the UK.
  • Major chocolate companies like Barry Callebaut, Heinz, Kraft, and Starbucks have all agreed to various certification programs for some their cocoa. While some of these programs do include labor rights standards, they are not as strong and comprehensive as they need to be to ensure workers’ rights are protected. They also do not address the problem of the low prices paid to cocoa farmers for their beans – a critical component of why child labor persists in this sector.
  • Fair Trade certification ensures that farmers are both able to meet the basic needs of their families and to continue to grow cocoa in the future by offering a fair price for cocoa. Fair Trade provides a path for farmers to increase their livelihoods and improve labor and environmental conditions in cocoa production. Fair Trade also has additional benefits like encouraging the development of democratic cooperatives where farmers have a greater voice in the market.



  • We have worked with Rainforest Alliance to certify our Dagoba and Bliss products.
    • In January of 2012, Hershey announced it would work with Rainforest Alliance to certify it's Dagoba and Bliss products. While this is a good first step, Dagoba and Bliss represent only a fraction of Hershey's sales each year, and Rainforest Alliance certification has been criticized for not being as strong as Fair Trade when it comes to child labor. Hershey needs to have in place a strong system for ensuring that all of their cocoa for all of their products is produced by farmers who can support their families and that violations of international labor rights standards are not occurring in their supply chains.
  • Fair Trade is a niche market.
    • Fair Trade is about making sure that cocoa farmers can support their families, institute strong labor and environmental standards and continue to make a living growing cocoa. Far from just a niche in the market, Fair Trade is much closer to how business should operate across the board. More and more consumers are demanding this type of trading relationship from the companies they support. Fair Trade continues to grow despite the economic downturn. As Cadbury’s recent commitments show, Fair Trade Certified™ cocoa makes sense even for the most popular chocolate products.
  • Hershey is addressing child labor through the Harkin-Engel Protocol and programs funded through the World Cocoa Foundation and International Cocoa Initiative.
    • The process initiated through the Harkin-Engel Protocol does not include a set of standards to be applied to cocoa production. It has not eliminated the worst forms of child labor or trafficked labor. Reports by a research team contracted by the US Department of Labor to investigate the implementation of the Harkin-Engel Protocol have labeled the “certification” program established by the Protocol a “misnomer” and have detailed the continued use of the worst forms of child labor, especially in Cote d’Ivoire. Both this process as well as programs funded through the World Cocoa Foundation and International Cocoa Initiative are not a replacement for taking responsibility for a company’s cocoa supply and instituting labor and environmental standards through a third-party system. Consumers need to know that a strong process is in place to protect workers and the environment. Fair Trade certification is an important step in that direction. For more information, please see
  • Fair Trade does not guarantee that child labor is not used.
    • No certification system can provide a 100-percent guarantee, but the elements of Fair Trade standards work together to lead to improvement in farmers’ lives and reductions in labor rights abuses like the worst forms of child labor. Fair Trade standards prohibit the worst forms of child labor and forced labor and include a monitoring system. The additional components such as the price premium and the democratic cooperative structure also help to contribute to higher labor standards on Fair Trade Certified™ farms. The increased transparency in Fair Trade supply chains helps companies to develop closer relationships with farmers and to work with them on improving living and working conditions. Fair Trade cooperatives are inspected annually.
  • It is impossible to monitor our cocoa supply chain.
    • Major chocolate companies and competitors of Hershey like Mars, Kraft and Cadbury have all agreed to certification programs that include labor standards and are transparent at least to the cooperative level. These companies are showing that it is indeed possible to track and monitor a large company’s cocoa supply chain. Smaller companies like Divine Chocolate, Equal Exchange, Alter Eco and Sweet Earth Organic Chocolates have been practicing a higher standard of transparency and partnership with farmers for years.

Popular Hershey Products

  • Twizzlers
  • Ice Breaker
  • Hershey’s Chocolate
  • Take 5
  • Reese’s
  • Kisses
  • Cacao Reserve
  • Kit Kat
  • York
  • Almond Joy
  • Mounds
  • Jolly Rancher
  • Caramello
  • Rolo
  • Heath
  • Mr. Goodbar
  • Bliss
  • Mauna Loa
  • Payday
  • 5 th Avenue
  • Pot of Gold
  • Hershey’s Sticks
  • Milk Duds
  • Nutrageous
  • Skor
  • Symphony
  • Whoppers
  • Whatchamacallit
  • Good & Plenty
  • BreathSavers
  • Bubble Yum




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