Magazine article HRMagazine

Hershey Takes Steps to Reduce Child Labor

Magazine article HRMagazine

Hershey Takes Steps to Reduce Child Labor

Article excerpt

Facing pressure from human rights groups, The Hershey Co. has pledged to invest $10 million in West Africa to reduce child labor used in the production of cocoa.

The announcement was made in late January, days before the International Labor Rights Forum was scheduled to run an ad about Hershey's child labor issues on a Jumbotron outside Lucas Oil Stadium during the Super Bowl. The ad, later pulled, was aimed at highlighting Hershey's failure to ensure that it wasn't purchasing cocoa from farms using child labor.

During the next five years, Hershey's $10 million investment will be used to help improve farming practices to increase cocoa farmers' income, with the intent of reducing child labor and increasing school attendance. Hershey also will partner with the Rainforest Alliance to monitor farmers for instances of unsafe or illegal child labor and to conduct training.

Hershey won't have HR professionals on-site quite yet. A planned farmer and family development center in the heart of Ghana's cocoa region "will give Hershey its first physical presence in West Africa and an opportunity for our employees to interact directly with Africa cocoa farmers and learn from these experiences," says spokesman Jeff Beckman. …

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