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.