Hershey’s in Denial

Some months back, I emailed Hershey’s at their corporate website and asked them about slavery in their supply chain. They responded that a survey of thousands of West African cocoa plantations had not found a single instance of slavery.

That seems to be their official line. Nope, ain’t no problem here.

Never mind that the Cote d’ Ivoire (Ivory Coast) government has admitted that slavery exists. Never mind that Interpol conducted a cocoa plantation raid and freed dozens of child slaves. Hershey’s points to this survey and pretends there isn’t any such thing.

Hershey’s has just released a Corporate Social Responsibility statement, and ILRF and Global Exchange have released their own more critical statement. You can read about Hershey’s involvement here. I found this report comprehensive and thoughtful.

As the largest US chocolate company, Hershey’s has a lot of power to make children’s lives better, or to continue to profit from abused, enslaved kids. I think it’s time to hold them accountable.


About esidener

I am a dangerously creative and as yet unpublished author, middle aged former teacher with 3 wonderful kids and a pretty good wife.
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2 Responses to Hershey’s in Denial

  1. I have this nagging feeling that making a difference with the Hershey company requires us to see the beauty/that-of-god in the exploiters. Rather than overpower them, find allies among them? Get them talking about social responsibility, get them inviting the public to expect social responsibility from them and examine their business practices from that point of view?

  2. Joan Broadfield says:

    This is really upsetting! About 5 years ago, in a workshop led by Kevin Bales (Free the Slaves), he spoke hopefully (and we heard a guy from Hershey as well speak) about an effort including Hershey that was working on the issue of slavery and chocolate. Sounds like they’ve given up and gone the other way. I believe Bales uses the kind of strategy that focuses on encouraging the need to change rather than blame, shame and ‘otherizing’… but more people need to join that effort. I’m going to see what more I can learn from Free The Slaves… Thanks for this website!

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