Hershey Is Now Certifiably Something

Long time readers of this blog know that I’ve been after chocolate companies for years, ever since finding out their supply chains often take advantage of child slave labor on some West African farms.

Hershey has been particularly unresponsive to campaigns calling for reform – up until now.

After years of staying silent on the matter, Hershey has announced a new plan to use only certified cocoa by 2020.

As an advocate for more responsible chocolate production, I think that’s great. As a writer, I’m wishing their promises didn’t look so rhetorical.

You see, “certified cocoa” doesn’t actually mean anything. Certified in what? Certified by the Chocolate Association as being extra chocolately? Currently a chocolate product can be certified organic or environmentally responsible without being certified Fair Trade or slave-free. Some of those certifications require different auditing than others. Hershey has invested a lot already in rainforest-friendly chocolate – those efforts help in South and Central America, but don’t adequately address the human rights problems in West Africa.

The vow says the certification will address both labor and environmental issues, and that Hershey will also invest in infrastructure around its supplier communities. I’m tempted to believe it. Unfortunately, it’s also an election season and I’m getting used to hearing empty promises these days – especially when those promises are for 2020 and not 2013.

To me, the exciting part of Hershey’s news is not its vague statement on certification but its willingness to be independently audited as part of that certification. Hopefully those auditors will make it clear to Hershey, and to us, whether or not the company’s efforts are making an impact on farming practices in West Africa.

__
(Photo by Jean Scheijen)

Advertisements
Comments
3 Responses to “Hershey Is Now Certifiably Something”
  1. miaschildrenjoan says:

    It is about time they answer….thanks for your work on the subject. You have changed how I look at chocolate!

    • jpothen says:

      Agreed! Thanks for the update and do let us know how this all works out. Last time I emailed Hershey about this I got a flat denial. Hopefully this leads to transparency and lasting change.

Trackbacks
Check out what others are saying...
  1. […] now it’s three years later. Hershey’s made some promises—although they read like campaign stump speeches. Nestlé’s made some promises too, which […]



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

  • Copyright

    ©TheMarginalized.com