The Hershey company doesn’t have a very good social track record. Issues such as child labor, trafficking and forced labor and refusing to cite chocolate sources, as well as treats that clearly don’t meet environmental standards have earned Hershey the one and only F grade on Green America’s chocolate scorecard. Now, due to increasing consumer and child advocacy group pressures, Hershey has taken some itty bitty baby steps to improve their company. This week, Hershey announced that the company will begin purchasing cocoa certified by the Rainforest Alliance for its “Bliss” line of chocolates by the end of 2012. Hershey has also stated that they’ll be investing $10 million by 2017 to reduce child labor and improve cocoa supply in West Africa. All of this is good news, but it seems like small potatoes (or candy bars as the case may be). In fact, for years and years, many consumers and Fair Trade groups have been urging Hershey to make positive changes but Hershey has ignored everyone. This is the very first time Hershey has even admitted they need to improve. As Green America points out, “Since the “Bliss” line is a relatively small part of Hershey’s chocolate empire, this is a very small step for the Hershey company to take.” We agree. Not only can Hershey do way, way better, but until they do, there’s no reason for your family to support them.

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Sweet Earth Chocolates Champagne Truffles - Organic and Fair Trade

Halloween is Hershey’s biggest, most profitable season, but Valentine’s Day comes in a close second, plus people buy chocolate every day. By not supporting Hershey, and other mainstream chocolate companies, such as Mars and Nestle, you can make a huge difference in the fight against child labor and non-environmental candy treats. Your kids may love chocolate, but buying from companies who support child labor makes for a far from lovable holiday. Choose a better chocolate option, one that supports organics and Fair Trade, such as.

Beyond buying Fair Trade, socially responsible, organic candy you can also let Hershey know that you won’t support them until they stop their terrible practices. You can even send Hershey a sweet Valentine if you so choose.

+ Read the real report about Hershey and how they run their company (pdf)

+ Green America’s chocolate scorecard (pdf)

Lead Image by Flickr User cincooldesigns