Target: John P. Bilbrey, CEO of the Hershey Company
Goal: Demand the Hershey Company fulfill its promise to use sustainable cocoa not grown by child slaves.
Last year, the Hershey Company announced that by 2020 its products will be made exclusively with certified cocoa. This certified cocoa will be held to a high standard of environmental practices and fair labor laws. By using certified cocoa, the current practice of using child slave labor to produce cocoa beans will be outlawed and banned.
Currently, many of the cocoa beans that go into Hershey’s chocolate are harvested by the hands of child slaves along the Ivory Cost and Ghana in West Africa. In 2011 Trulane University concluded that 1.8 million children, predominantly unpaid, some victims of human trafficking, work in the Ivory Coast and Ghana on cocoa farms. A BBC reporter filmed children as young as seven working on such farms. Certified cocoa would help correct this flagrant violence against workers and children.
Hershey is the largest producer of chocolate in North America, has operations worldwide, and generates over six billion dollars in revenue. Hershey Company makes name-brand chocolate like Reese’s, Hershey’s Kisses, Kit Kat, Twizzlers, Jolly Rancher, Dagoba, and Scharffen Berger.
It’s a huge step forward for Hershey to announce the adoption of certified cocoa. However, it may not be enough. We need to make sure that Hershey is continually committed and moving toward this goal. What type of certification will the Hershey Company use? How will they specifically ensure all child labor and human trafficking ceases? What will happen to the child slaves whose labor is no longer legal?
Hershey has made a public commitment to social justice and sustainable cocoa farming in West Africa. It must be held to this promise, yet it is unclear how exactly this will be accomplished. Certain proposed incentives, such as CocoaLink (providing farmers with voicemail and text alerts about growing cocoa, pest issues, and weather conditions), seem progressive, yet it is unclear how they will stop human trafficking.
Signing the petition below will tell Hershey that you are supportive of the mission to end the environmental degradation and crimes against human rights that are currently associated with the production of cocoa used in its chocolate. It will also tell the Hershey Company that you, as a consumer, expect it to fulfill its promise by 2020.
Dear John P. Bilbrey, Hershey Company CEO,
Last year the Hershey company announced that by 2020 its products will be made exclusively with certified cocoa. It is unclear, however, what type of certification the Hershey Company will use, and how specifically Hershey will ensure that all the cocoa used in Hershey’s Chocolate will not be a product of child slave labor.
As the largest producer of chocolate in North America, and with operations world wide, the Hershey Company holds an iconic position in the chocolate industry. The promise that Hershey made to use only “certified cocoa” is a huge step forward in improving life and working conditions on cocoa farms in Ghana and along the Ivory Coast. Yet, less than two years ago, Trulane University concluded that 1.8 million children, predominantly unpaid, labored in these farms. What will happen to the child slaves when their labor is no longer legal? How will Hershey account for this displacement of both children and the workforce?
The commitment that Hershey made to social justice and sustainable cocoa is phenomenal, and has the capacity to catalyze so much good and so much change in West Africa. Please publicly announce how exactly this change will occur, exactly what type of certification process will be used for the cocoa beans, and is going to happen to child slaves on cocoa farms.
Hershey has made a public commitment to social justice and sustainable cocoa farming in West Africa. The company must be held to this promise, yet it is unclear how exactly this will be accomplished. Certain proposed incentives, such as CocoaLink (providing farmers with voicemail and text alerts about growing cocoa, pest issues, and weather conditions), seem progressive, yet it is unclear how they will stop human trafficking.
This new mission of Hershey’s is commendable, monumental, and progressive. I am looking forward to seeing massive changes in your company’s labor and environmental practices. Please, keep your promise to consumers and those you employ.
[Your Name Here]