In 2012, due to increasing consumer and advocacy group pressure, Hershey decided to take some baby steps to improve their company practices, including purchasing cocoa certified by the Rainforest Alliance. More importantly, back in 2012, Hershey said they’d be investing $10 million by 2017 to reduce child labor and improve cocoa supply in West Africa. Fast forward to now and Hershey has announced some progress toward their goals, but honestly, those goals are still moving very, very slowly for every single child forced into labor for the company. Near the end of January, Hershey told Green America that they still plan to certify 100% of their cocoa as free from abusive child labor by 2020 and while they sourced only 10% of their cocoa from certified sources last year, the company now reports that 18% of its cocoa came from certified sources in 2013. 18% is better than nothing, but that really means that Hershey is STILL sourcing 82% of their cocoa from non-certified sources, meaning a lot of children are still involved in making all those Hershey chocolates and goodies treats people buy.

Read on to learn how you can help children by signing a petition to boycott Hershey’s and stop supporting child slavery.

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Green America did note that they applaud Hershey’s commitment to ethical sourcing by 2020, but they are also continually urging Hershey to speed up the process, because as Green America notes, “Seven years is forever in the life of a child working in the cocoa fields. We cannot forget that more than a quarter-million children in West Africa are waiting for an end to this heart-breaking abuse NOW.” Awesome points. Child labor is no laughing matter and still a huge problem all over the world. At this juncture, Green America is going to continue to monitor Hershey’s progress towards child-labor-free chocolate plus push other chocolate companies, such as Godiva, to go Fair Trade.

With Valentine’s day right around the corner, it’s very important that you buy ethically sourced chocolate for your sweeties – but keep in mind that year-round purchases matter too! You’ve got to buy Fair Trade, non-child labor chocolate whenever you can AND urge companies to change their ways or else you won’t be buying their candy. See the links below to help make a difference.

  • Donate to Green America – every donation through March 15th will be matched $1-for-$1!
  • Sign a petition to urge Hershey’s CEO John Bilbrey to stop supporting child slavery and speed up the timeline for 100% third-party certified cocoa production.

Don’t forget to choose a better chocolate option, one that supports organics and Fair Trade, such as:

+ Boycott Hershey’s & Child Slavery