Hershey pledges $10 million to improve West African cocoa farming, fight child labor
January 31st, 2012
08:50 PM ET

Hershey pledges $10 million to improve West African cocoa farming, fight child labor

By David Ariosto, CNN

The Hershey company, one of the United States' leading chocolate producers, says it's pledged $10 million over the next five years to educate West African cocoa farmers on improving their trade and combating child labor.

The region is home to about 70% percent of the world's cocoa but has also been the source of recent scrutiny over its alleged use of child labor. (More about the issue)

Hershey's announcement Monday heartened activists, who say the company is finally focusing efforts on improving the root cause of the issue.

"It's a start," said Judy Gearhart, executive director of the International Labor Rights Forum. "We see this as a welcome first step toward accountability."


The company said in a press release that chocolate consumers will later this year be able to purchase a new version of Hershey's Bliss brand, which will be 100% made from Rainforest Alliance-certified farms mostly in Ivory Coast and Ghana.

Gearhart's organization, which had planned to run a Super Bowl advertisement denouncing Hershey for its alleged use of child labor, has since decided to pull the commercial because of Monday's announcement.

"We feel (Hershey's) joining with Rainforest Alliance sends the right message, but its just the start," said Gearhart.

Rainforest Alliance, a New York-based conservation group with whom Hershey has partnered, says it employs monitors in West Africa to conduct random audits of cocoa farms to ensure they are pursuing sustainable practices without the use of child labor.

Following such audits, the organization issues certificates to farmers or group certificates to collections of small farmers, using "several dozen auditors" for tens of thousands of farms across the region, according to Alex Morgan, a Rainforest Alliance senior manager.

Currently, between 1% and 2% of Hershey products are certified, said Andy McCormick, the company's vice president of public affairs.

"Hershey is extending our commitment with new programs to drive long-term change in cocoa villages where families will benefit from our investments in education, health and economic opportunities," said J.P. Bilbrey, Hershey President and CEO in a statement.

The move follows a recent CNN documentary entitled "Chocolate's Child Slaves," that explored a human trafficking network and farmers using child labor in Ivory Coast.

-CNN's David McKenzie contributed to this report.

Looking for more ways to help fight modern-day slavery? Check out the CNN Freedom Project's How to Help section

soundoff (159 Responses)
  1. Seth Addae

    Please use that money to buy equipment for the Cocoa farmers so that they will not need to have more man labour on their farms. This is the most efficient way of solving this problem. You know it so stop this noise.

    February 1, 2012 at 1:17 am | Reply
    • James

      Seth: are you a cocoa farmer? What is your source of expertise on this matter? I'm guessing none other than "you happen to own a keyboard and have a strong view based on a hunch." But, let's for a moment think about what you're suggesting. You're suggesting a de facto subsidy to the relatively rich cocoa plantation owners that will allow them to create further unemployment in the already poor local workforce. Congratulations, genius, on coming up with about the most shortsighted idea of the day. If mechanization is a solution, then there's enough money involved that it should come "organically" through retained profits. But, for the sake of the workers, I hope it doesn't come–at least not too quickly. The correct answer is to prevent child labor through force of law both for ethical reasons and to drive up adult wages correspondingly to make this a "healthy" industry. The "nuclear option" is to fine companies in the west who end up buying child harvested cocoa, but this is in practice impractical due to the very complex supply chains that often chocolate producers can no more reasonably monitor than you could monitor if the oil in your car came from a despotic country or not.

      February 1, 2012 at 9:24 am | Reply
      • John

        woah, woah. calm down. you're no different from seth, you know. just like him, you simply have a hunch. perhaps it has more thought put into it, but it's no different from any other hunch.

        if you really give some thought deep down into it, the most seemingly effective system, via laws, are quite impractical in themselves, as the african governments really have no way of practically enforcing these laws, so that idea's out the window.

        giving cash to aid in harvesting of coca is also a good idea, but rather impractical for the ideas that you mention. Harvesting cocao is a major business to these people, so they'd simply use both. perhaps, however, it is a better idea to simply add cash as an incentive, or rather, as reason for their change.

        simply giving these farms money, will do nothing but appease them. however, witholding trade to these said child labour farms would completely shut down their business. nobody buying their chocolate will result in no profit.

        needless, this is still impractical, as this will result in a hit for the businesses whom produce goods for consumption such as hersheys.

        In the end, it we went with this route, though, it would end up being a 'monetary war' of who can hold out the longest, which, when push comes to shove, will eventually be the companies in question. of course, the problem with this is getting various chocolate producing countries around the world to boycott the use of child labour produced cocao.

        in the end, it's all down to morals, who's going to be willing to take a hit for the sake of humanity. unfortunately, I don't know which companies would be willing to shut down a majority of their business for this service.

        likewize, i"ll admit, i'm just voiceing my opinion. like every other person on the internet. just like you, just like seth. so please, let me remind you to uphold some sort of ettiquet here online. just because someone doesn't know something, or is rather naiive about an idea, doesn't mean they should be bashed for it. simply voice your own opinion, and continue on.

        February 7, 2012 at 3:40 pm |
      • Marjorie Tabango

        Sooooooo...james let me get this straight. How do you expect these machines to run...without supervision??? I suppose you think that people in other countries are incapable of learning anything other than how to pick cocoa beans...way to go champ you make more sense..

        February 8, 2012 at 1:49 am |
      • Arturo from DR

        don't you people have jobs? Stop wasting your employer's equipment and get back to work. NOW!

        February 10, 2012 at 12:43 pm |
      • Tyrone Nighthawk

        Hello , I'm Tyrone .

        April 5, 2012 at 3:18 pm |
    • Claude Slagenhop

      The children don't appreciate their jobs being displaced by equipment, now what are they going to do, starve?

      February 1, 2012 at 10:28 am | Reply
      • Arturo from DR

        they can sell themselves.

        February 10, 2012 at 12:45 pm |
      • JoJo the Machino

        Thats nasty

        April 21, 2015 at 3:27 pm |
    • Arturo from DR

      give me the money, mofos

      February 10, 2012 at 12:48 pm | Reply
      • JoJo the Machino


        April 21, 2015 at 3:28 pm |
    • akmed

      are you a jew?

      February 10, 2012 at 12:50 pm | Reply
  2. mortz

    Supplying them with equipment may be part of the solution, but showing them how to optimise thier resources is key, if they do not know how to manage themselves properly, they will end up either selling the equipment or allowing it to rot, the cost of fuel for running machinery is much higher than the cost of child labour. These farmers need to see the benefits of investing in spare parts, fuel, and upkeep if there is going to be any change. This will require a long, well planned process. Good luck to Hersheys, I really hope they see it through.

    February 1, 2012 at 1:44 am | Reply
  3. Jenn

    10 mil for 5 years? Really? Is that even enough?

    February 1, 2012 at 3:23 am | Reply
    • Marjorie Tabango

      I agree thats so small compared to what "Hershey" brings in....

      February 8, 2012 at 1:50 am | Reply
      • akmed

        FU. Do you like to bang?

        February 10, 2012 at 12:51 pm |
      • JoJo the Machino


        April 21, 2015 at 3:38 pm |
  4. Akouassi Yao

    Sometime it is best to understand the culture and the environment before taking any measure to solve a problem. The question to ask is why are they using those children to work in their farm? Is it because they want to save in their cost? If it is so, how come cocoa which is a very lucrative does not benefit enough to the farmer and they have to use cheap or free labor. When it comes to those children what would they do once they will no longer work on the farm, will there e any schools build that they can attend and enrich their life. The issue seems to be more complicated than portrayed.

    February 1, 2012 at 3:59 am | Reply
    • Shannon

      In poor countries people have more children in order to offset their costs of living and also because the church tells them not to use condoms and other forms of birth control. Once those children are born there has to be a way of feeding them and if the parents can't earn enough, then they send their children to work. Having more children is also a form of social security as when the parents age they can depend on more children to feed/take care of them. This currently happens in every developing country that I've been to in today's world and has happened in every developing country, including the US back when farming was the norm. Throwing money at the situation isn't going to change a culture.

      February 1, 2012 at 6:25 am | Reply
      • uyiedo

        this is the problem of trying to teach someone what you dont understand, child labour in Africa are of two form the exploitative one which I am totally against and the second aspect is of family devotion and responsibilty.
        What Hersh should do with its money is help build schools and support such school, provide equipments to the farmers who cultivate Cocoa as suggested earlier. Child labour to most Africans is more of training and character building. If you provide an alternative for this children will stop going to farms. Finally Shannon the Church has nothing to do with increase number of children rather the church has helped in reducing this...go and find out the number of children families that go to church and those who dont to church in Africa and you will be shocked at your conclusion.

        February 1, 2012 at 10:51 am |
      • Manolin

        The project will take aa0 cmvsrehenpioe approach in addressing exploitative child labor, in cooperationa0 with the Ethiopian government, at the local and national levels. Funds will bea0 used to reintegrate children into formal or non-formal education systems and toa0 transition children of legal working age to vocational education anda0 apprenticeship training. Vulnerable families also will be linked to income-generatinga0 opportunities that reduce reliance on child labor.a0 Through collaboration with the University of Gondar, the grantee will raise awarenessa0 and train labor inspectors on child labor laws as well as occupational safetya0 and health standards.Source: sandiegocountynews.com

        March 3, 2012 at 9:58 pm |
  5. Josephine

    We hope Hershey will not only work with Rainforest Alliance in Ivory Coast.
    Our Company EYELANDER has 18 years of experience with cocoa farmers in West Africa, training and auditing cocoa farmers, Cooperatives and the buyers of the cocoa.. We audit the whole cocoa supply chain to make sure the farmers receive the money and training that was paid for by the chocolate companies.. We also have the EYELANDER FOUNDATION for child labour victims .EYELANDER FOUNDATION has a save heaven to get children from the farms back to their countries and homes. http://www.eyelander.org

    February 1, 2012 at 4:17 am | Reply
    • Claude Slagenhop

      Victims? Really??? These companies give these children a job so they don't starve. What do you do? Put them out of work?

      February 1, 2012 at 10:27 am | Reply
      • Sue

        Do you really call slavery a job? Can't leave - no pay - beatings - horrendous conditions. Kids don't want to be trafficked. Yes, they are victims. They're being 100% exploited.

        February 2, 2012 at 10:02 pm |
  6. Dan

    This is idiotic. Child labor is not a problem. For a child living in Africa the choice is: work to earn money or starve to death. This is not America where poor children have access to free education, food, and so many social facilities provided by the government.
    What should be the problem is slavery i.e. work without pay.

    February 1, 2012 at 4:31 am | Reply
    • Liz

      In case you didn't see the rest of the articles up about this subject, these children don't chose to work on the farms they are forced and they don't get paid they get scraps of clothes and sometimes food. So it is slavery!

      February 11, 2012 at 9:37 pm | Reply
  7. Maja V

    10 million dollars is a drop in the bucket to Hershey. They make that in a single day. I only eat fair trade and organic chocolate and it isn't that much more than a Mr Goodbar. If mothers and fathers were paid a living wage it is inconcievable that any parent would put their child to work- rather parents would send the kid to school. Hershey exploits poverty and desperation and that is hardly good business. Hershey stopped paying workers in the USA a fair wage only to take operations to Mexico. Do you really enjoy eating that waxy chocolate knowing that a nine year old had to dig irrigation trenches for 10 hours a day? I rather doubt that child ever enjoyed so much as a Hershey Kiss.

    February 1, 2012 at 4:42 am | Reply
  8. Dinesh Perera

    How much is Hershey's annual profit? Is this at least 1% of it? If not this is as little as doing nothing.

    February 1, 2012 at 4:55 am | Reply
  9. Maja V

    It makes you wonder how much those auditors will get paid and all that certification process. To certify the barest of minimums in human decency that will prove to be an imperfect and struggling model for decades. Can you imagine a auditor getting $30,000+ plus auditing a dozen farms? $30,000 could feed five villages in West Africa where the annual income per person is under $500 a year. This is an example of funding lip-service bureaucracies instead of tackling the problem at the core.

    There is nothing wrong with training the farmers themselves to organize into cooperatives. If given the power, it could be done for $5 million top, but would certainly "rob" profits down the line. Why should an outside organization, well intended as it might be, dictate policy and police multinational corporations? This is top-down Western hubris with a caretaker mentality. If the farmer was educated and empowered collectively I think we would see a huge change. It is a matter of perspective. I'd rather see powerful farmers and producers dictate to Rainforest Alliance and Hershey's how it is going to be rather than the other way around.

    We have got to move away from this babysitter mentality that creates continuous dependency on goodwill. Rather, embolden farmers to organize into cartels, cooperatives, and unions. Unions that the corporations support rather than subvert at every turn. This is what will really affect change- and put Hershey's in its proper place along the long chain between raw materials and the finished product.

    Need we do another comparision of compensation for Hershey executives or stockholders vs the farmer? It is shocking to think of the disparity when we all know to well who is working harder at the end of a long day. Stockholders don't even work, it is passive income to say the least.

    February 1, 2012 at 5:09 am | Reply
  10. Frank

    Out of how many billions in profits? Just a cheap, cheap, cheap public relations stunt, and why is the NYT falling for it?

    February 1, 2012 at 5:10 am | Reply
  11. power4things

    "fair trade" and "organic" chocolate? And you believe what it says the wrapper?

    February 1, 2012 at 5:10 am | Reply
    • komedonard

      Thanks through your program advertisement , we are higly motivated to passed our project for you to advertise for us to have a partner to help us financially to realise cocoa production in tons

      December 5, 2012 at 5:16 am | Reply
  12. power4things

    I agree, $10M is a joke. Top Hershey execs get that in comp per year. Just fire a few golf-buddy VP's and put the money where it shouid be – US Workers' pockets.

    February 1, 2012 at 5:12 am | Reply
  13. T

    Why don't you plant cocoa in Florida and Texas and grow and farm the cocoa in the USA for the USA market. Perhaps these greedy pigs could spend that 10 million dollars on creating a sustainable supply based in the USA opposed to this obvious PR stunt that only enhances their "offshore" assets and profits.

    February 1, 2012 at 5:30 am | Reply
    • mathildasue

      Ever consider where chocolate grows? It's the climate – which they don't have in Florida

      February 1, 2012 at 8:19 am | Reply
    • Coconut Biko

      Cocoa will not grow in Florida and Texas, it would be nice if it did. The changes in temp will not be good. And Cocoa production is a pain. The small cocoa tree is a pain to grow. It needs a lot of care. Skip a couple of days of watering and it is toast.

      Cocoa can only be profitably grown under temperatures varying between 30-32oC mean maximum and 18-21 oC mean minimum and absolute minimum of 10 oC. Temperature has been related to light use efficiency with temperatures below 24 oC having a decreasing effect on the light saturated photosynthesis rate.
      source http://www.nlcap.net/fileadmin/NCAP/Countries/Ghana/COCOA_DRAFT_FINAL_REPORT.pdf

      February 1, 2012 at 3:10 pm | Reply
      • Eric

        :My spouse and i still can't quite think that I could aylaws be one of those reading through the important suggestions found on your blog. My family and I are sincerely thankful for the generosity and for giving me potential to pursue my personal chosen profession path. Thank you for the important information I managed to get from your web-site.

        August 1, 2012 at 5:01 pm |
  14. Arpad

    I really do not see a point in that except PR stunt. Let people of West Africa decide by themselves if child labor is OK for them or not. If Hershey is sooo civilized – let them take care about work conditions instead. But I am afraid the latter won't be so cheap.

    February 1, 2012 at 5:54 am | Reply
  15. Joe

    I'll be impressed if even 5% of that money makes it to Africa.

    February 1, 2012 at 6:40 am | Reply
  16. Dnsdamenace

    The $10 million will go toward videos that show the farmers smiling and patting the children on their heads and when the camera is off it's back to the grind. I want my candy bar!!!!

    February 1, 2012 at 6:54 am | Reply
  17. Suzanne

    As an educator I feel that if this money is used directly via non-profit organisations to go in and educate the children and negotiate with the farmers that if eg. Hershey's pays for part of their food and board then they need to release these children for a few hours a day to get an education. If the money is used in other ways then it gets watered down by bureaucracy and bribes. 10% might actually have the desired effect. If these children are taken off this work then there will be no way to feed themselves or their families, they will starve and do worse things to get money. If the money is used directly to educate/feed and board these children they will benefit and then go on to make a better life for themselves and the future generations. Educate from the bottom up.

    February 1, 2012 at 7:08 am | Reply
    • Amirah

      Oh i love these little cuetis beary much:) Oh so sorry to hear you're taking time off from this wonderful blog of yours.. but i'll be right here when you come back cause i love your recipes and ideas:) I plan to become the best cooking mom one day. .so i better prepare for that:)Oh my kids are gonna be so faaaaaaaaaat!Happy Monday!

      August 4, 2012 at 3:08 am | Reply
  18. coder

    wow – a whole ten million – i hope it does not prevent them from making a profit

    February 1, 2012 at 8:54 am | Reply
    • Jason Kendle

      Exactly right!!
      10 Million is nothing to Hershey! Especially spread out over five years!
      But they were successfull in stopping the Super Bowl ad, which was without a doubt their goal. Had that ad ran, it would have cost Hershey much more than 10M in declining sales!
      Good damage control!

      February 1, 2012 at 1:01 pm | Reply
      • convoluted

        stop buying their chocolate.....

        February 14, 2012 at 8:37 am |
  19. coco

    Yeah, let's cheer on Hershey! They moved one of their production plants to an outsourced plant in Mexico, where the wages are far cheaper etc.etc. and cost many jobs of a small town in Canada.
    Corporations, may be legally people, BUT, they do NOT think, or feel, as people should...

    February 1, 2012 at 9:16 am | Reply
  20. Rafael

    Population living under the national poverty line has increased gradually in Cote d'Ivoire has increased from 34.6% to 42.7% between 1993 and 2008. GNI per capita (PPP) is currently a low $1,160. To put things in perspective, the GNI per capita in a country like Peru is $4,700 and the USA $47,390.
    To think that the problem of child slavery in CDI is limited to the boundaries of a cocoa farm, and can be solved with a a sustainability certification is to completely ignore the magnitude and economics of CDI's problems.
    Any certified "cosmetic" solution will caused a leakage onto another economic sector.

    February 1, 2012 at 9:59 am | Reply
  21. Sunny-Unachukwu Chukwuemeka

    As an African, I would like the reporters on the chocolate child labour stories to limit there terminology to 'Child Labour' . Your Slavery terminologies have very negative connotations and you mischievously use them to make Africa and Africans look un-evolved. The issue at hand is Child Labour. Keep it to that.

    February 1, 2012 at 10:13 am | Reply
  22. Claude Slagenhop

    Why are you trying to get rid of child labor? What else are these children going to do? Join islamist gangs? Rape women? Join child militias? If you outlaw their livelihood, what will they do? There is a long tradition of childhood labor in these countries. Why are you trying to press your "enlightened" new (up till the 1800s there was child labor in the US) and counterproductive values on these people? Children have rights too, including the right to work.

    February 1, 2012 at 10:23 am | Reply
    • llatchford

      Are you sure your name isn't Newt Gingrich?

      February 5, 2012 at 7:54 pm | Reply
    • JesusLoves

      Milton Hershey stated "If I ever become rich, I am going to use my money to build schools to give every boy and girl an opportunity to get an education." Yea well not only did he become rich his company makes more than those $10 mil , so what are they going to do how about those trafficked children go back home and Hershey does what he stated, so those children don't go and do bad things but receive an education, and become better people, they are our future, if we should invest in anything its in them, and all the children around the world!

      February 7, 2012 at 2:07 pm | Reply
  23. Willy Wonka

    Come to my factory where the umpaloompas work for free and they are grown adults, now thats capitalism!

    February 1, 2012 at 11:20 am | Reply
    • Hahahahahahahahaha

      You are a great republican!!! Slave labor for all!!!! Hahahahahahahahahahaha

      February 1, 2012 at 9:13 pm | Reply
      • marcindc

        Hahahaha...sounds more like a great Liberal/Progressive Democrat. Take the benefits from the hard work of others and claim the results of their efforts as your own and call it fairness. No accountability and no responsibility...the modern Democrat.

        February 18, 2012 at 12:24 pm |
      • Mac

        Hahahahahahahahaha, being the nice republican that you are, tell us how you really feel about yourself!

        February 29, 2012 at 4:50 am |
    • Jose

      That's rude

      April 21, 2015 at 3:30 pm | Reply
  24. Coconut Biko

    I have a large farm in Panama in which I am implementing a 40,000 coconut tree plantation, I have, by myself, planted 8,000 coconut and it is very hard work, but I enjoy it. I also have Cocoa Trees that are growing wild but now I am going to interplant with the coconut and mango. Send Hershey my way. I have no problem being certified Organic, and Fair Trade Pratice.

    February 1, 2012 at 11:58 am | Reply
    • Maris

      If I were you, I wouldn't claim to use organic & fair trade practices Coconut Biko. I'm sure your investors and prospective customers woud be interested in knowing where your funding comes from......

      July 29, 2012 at 5:22 pm | Reply
  25. Melissa Bov

    Read: Chocolate Wars: The 150-Year Rivalry Between the World's Greatest Chocolate Makers

    Deborah Cadbury
    for some interesting history of chocolate companies and the development of our favorites.

    February 1, 2012 at 2:15 pm | Reply
  26. Steve

    Ten million over five years? Please. That's like giving a homeless person a penny and calling yourself a hero. And 1%-2% of the product line? That's like arresting one criminal and calling your city crime free. Hershey has been making lots of promises. They have yet to come anywhere close to fulfilling them.

    February 1, 2012 at 3:36 pm | Reply
    • marcindc

      Or like having someone named Steve yammering on and on with inane analogies, and he has given nothing but hot air.

      February 18, 2012 at 12:28 pm | Reply
  27. victor

    I will start eating your chocolate if and when all the kids working in the fields under slavery conditions are in schools learning for a better future, for now count me off your chocolate!

    February 1, 2012 at 5:32 pm | Reply
  28. davdi burns

    Once again, it is American big business at its best. It has been going on for many years as Hershey makes lots of money. Only now, after bringing it into the open, does hershey admit it is happening – worries about continued profits – that they finally make a small effort to do sometthing aboout it. Profit rules all.

    February 2, 2012 at 5:48 am | Reply
    • paul

      To everyone saying "only 10 million omg!!!!1!"
      Shut up. It isn't on Hershey to give ANYTHING AT ALL. If they gave 20 million you'd say the same thing, if they gave 25 you'd still say the same thing. This forum is a brilliant example of why this country doesn't work. It's filled with the highest population of idiots who think they are "enlightened".
      Is child labor bad? In America, yes of course. Children in this country are provided education and guaranteed at the very least a place to live without fear of starving to death. In the poorest places in the world, OF COURSE NOT! They have nothing better to be doing, few good schools and little or no food. The vast majority of them NEED THESE JOBS.

      But lets press our stupid-enlightened views into a culture where they won't work.

      February 2, 2012 at 6:17 pm | Reply
  29. house

    tax season

    February 2, 2012 at 7:50 am | Reply
  30. Eric

    Hershey's school will not allow a student with HIV to attend because he a "risk" to other students. Shame on them.

    February 2, 2012 at 4:52 pm | Reply
    • paul

      That's just stupid Eric. Kids play, kids get cut up and bleed, kids spit on each other, kids fight. This isn't america where you get HIV meds to suppress the disease, let kids with HIV attend and you end up with an epidemic.

      I suggest you go open an HIV only school, yeah all your teachers and you will die and you'll be educating people who have a lifespan of 20-30 years.

      February 2, 2012 at 6:09 pm | Reply
      • llatchford

        Your ignorance of HIV issues and children is astonishing.

        February 5, 2012 at 7:52 pm |
  31. vijay

    I would like to compliment Mr. Hershey for for donating such a good fund for the betterment of Child labors, but educating the farmers is only half the thing and other important thing they can do is employing the adult worker with effective way will be more productive and will be more profitable to them , than they will not employ the child labor. I also like to compliment the CNN and GOOGLE for taking up this FREEDOM Project for the poor and developing nations.I wish they should also start a similar project for the Tribal children s of India.

    February 3, 2012 at 12:05 am | Reply
    • Aitolkyn

      the best advice i can give is when you go greocry shopping stay on the outer ailes of the store. This is where you will find the healthiest foods! Also don't limit yourself. Its okay to have a treat; just don't over do it. Smaller potions and drinking plenty of water also helps. Try switching to whole grains, and get more fresh vegetables in your diet. Also don't drink all your calories! try crystal light or lemon in your water! Whew i guess i'll stop here! ❤

      September 13, 2012 at 9:52 pm | Reply
  32. FrankFromHershey

    Hershey, once marketed as the "Great American Chocolate Bar" virtually destroyed the lives and livelihoods of the people of Hershey Pennsylvania. The "Great American Chocolate Bar" is now made in Mexico, with cheap Mexican labor.

    Their track record speaks volumes. Their gestures say nothing. 1-2% audit is a safe and cheap way to stay safe and cheap. farmers will know long before "auditors" arrive to send the kids home into the bush.

    Worst, the organizations that collected funds and withdrew the ads only reassured their own profitable non-profit.

    The whole thing smells like rat salad on a stick made of human bone.

    February 3, 2012 at 5:44 am | Reply
  33. owen

    10mil... thats a lot of certificates....

    February 3, 2012 at 10:58 am | Reply
  34. Ayn Riggs

    Slave Free Chocolate.org is an open NGO made up of many who've help spread the word over the last several years. Our opinion is that although this is a step in the right direction, its horribly underfunded. When Hershey's signed the Harkin Engel Protocol ten years ago then knew it was going to take much more money. The watchdog that reported on this suggested each player really needs to cough up about 8 million a year. Hershey is 2 million a year over 5 years. This is not a win for those advocating for these children, this is a scrap of meat thrown at a starving dog.

    Also keep in mind, Hershey is just ONE player in this. What about Cargill, Archer Daniel Midland etc???

    On Valentines Day, http://www.slavefreechocolate.org is running a campaing to close the loophole in EO 13126. Please read up about it on our site and participate.


    Ayn Riggs
    Director of Slave Free Chocolate.

    February 3, 2012 at 11:43 am | Reply
  35. elenore

    Why can't their gov't have human standards for business.Meanwhile Hershery's gives money to Africa while laying off workers here.Why can't Boomers care about this country and our people.Your making your Grand kids poorer.

    February 4, 2012 at 10:06 am | Reply
    • nothing new here

      Thank you.

      February 6, 2012 at 12:03 am | Reply
  36. nothing new here

    Big companies relocate their factories to third-world countries, recruit kids and other cheap labor, make millions on inferior products, and then want to play the "slave trade card"?
    Somehow I am not totally sold on this topic.
    If BIG companies want to put an end to all this "slave labor", then relocate back to the U.S. Put Americans back to work and start selling decent American made products. Never mind the unions.

    February 6, 2012 at 12:01 am | Reply
  37. nothing new here

    Why is it that these countries cannot deal with their own problems ?
    And people wonder why Ron Paul is against all this foreign aid and intervention?
    THIS country is becoming a third-world society. How about fixing our economy and infrastructure here at home for once?

    February 6, 2012 at 12:05 am | Reply
    • alf564

      Don't look to Hershey to help. Their CEO got rid of American labor and sent the Hershey Bar manufacturing to their "NORTH AMERICAN PLANT", i.e: MEXICO !!! They import the chocolate bars and pay NO TARIFFS !!! Good ole American no how and the money stays at the TOP, you know, stock options and bonuses !!

      February 9, 2012 at 5:41 pm | Reply
  38. Sharon

    Sometimes working means the difference between starving or having a meal everyday. In many 3rd world countries there are no other options. No welfare, no schools, no charitable organizations. Why doesnt someone ask these children why they are working. They may feel it is in their best interest.

    February 7, 2012 at 1:25 pm | Reply
  39. Lopaka

    I love it. Hershey makes a $100 Million from the labor and then gets press for 'donating' $10 mil. As long as there are no labor laws, nor someone to enforce a labor law, nothing will change. BUY ONLY HAWAIIAN MADE PRODUCTS.

    February 7, 2012 at 7:00 pm | Reply
  40. Chrome48

    SO now Hershey will end a means of income for the poor peole of west africa by giving these greedy farmers money so they don't need the child labor.

    February 8, 2012 at 3:15 am | Reply
    • BK

      The money isn't going ~to~ the farmers. It's paying for education to teach them that treating workers well is more profitable.

      February 8, 2012 at 10:51 am | Reply
      • Alex

        $10 million may be a drop to Hershey, but I doubt it's a drop to these farmers. Just a thought. I don't think any of us are sending money of that magnitude, so let us be cautious in our scrutiny.

        February 17, 2012 at 1:56 am |
  41. BK

    Now lets see Apple do the same thing to stop child labor and conditions in their factories. Then again, Apple is known for being stingy with their billions, so it's probably too much to hope for.

    February 8, 2012 at 10:50 am | Reply
    • Alex

      Apple actually announced in January that they plan on transitioning to fair trade products by next year, particularly in response to the controversies of child labor and (mostly) horrible working conditions. Whether they will or not, or withing this time, is yet to be seen.

      February 17, 2012 at 1:59 am | Reply
  42. Andrew Mulligan

    I just read this article and maybe everyone else who thinks the way I previous did should read it too. Here is a piece from it and a link to the whole article.

    RETHINKING CHILD LABOUR: Abolishing child labour leads to slavery

    Before we speak or take any action, we should consider the severe ramifications of abolishing a source of both income and labour that is not only prevalent, but has been part of the third world culture since time immemorial. Does anyone realize the importance of differentiating between “child slavery” and “child labour?” That the former is, in the majority of cases, a probable result of no access to the latter?

    Yes, children are precious and we must protect them. But we must be extremely careful how we do this in third world countries where children are commodities used to feed those who can no longer feed themselves, and the only way to truly protect them is to ensure that the rest of the family is cared for too. Abolishing child labour will lead to them being trafficked—that is a fact.


    February 8, 2012 at 10:52 am | Reply
  43. James Sullivan

    The money will end up as bribe money and good PR for Hersey though end up supporting Ghana and Ivory Coast Corrupt officials. 10 million buys a nice house in Switzerland or the Caymans.

    Jim Sullivan

    February 8, 2012 at 7:57 pm | Reply
    • pablo con culo

      are you a maricon? since you live in SF?

      February 10, 2012 at 12:53 pm | Reply
      • James E. Sullivan

        What is a Maricon?

        Jim Sullivan

        February 10, 2012 at 3:34 pm |
  44. alf564

    Is Hershey taking this money from profits it made producing products in Mexico and selling them in the USA without paying
    a tariff?? I guess laying off American workers is perfectly acceptable!! That is why we no longer purchase any products
    produced by Hershey.

    February 9, 2012 at 5:37 pm | Reply
  45. akmed

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    February 10, 2012 at 12:52 pm | Reply
    • Jose

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  46. Akouassi


    February 11, 2012 at 1:33 pm | Reply
  47. DellStator

    Another article with WAY too little info.
    This isn't a print news service, it's digital, text consumes VERY little hard drive space.
    I know it's hard for CNN to generate the double digit profit increases execs, ceos, you know, bosses, need in order to get their big bonuses, corporate jets, junkets, and add more money than they could ever spend to their already bloated bank accounts, BUT really, I'm sure one hours google search would answer the questions that should have been answered:
    1. Child labor, avg wage, hr / yrly something
    2. Avg yearly income in areas
    3. If childeren are working on family or corporate farms
    4. Are adults turned away from the jobs "because they cost more" – a vicious practice used in the west while industrializing
    5. Do the childeren actually have anything else to do, ie, is there school? family farms?
    6. Is coca farming improving the overall living conditions of the areas?
    7. Are working conditions more detrimental than the alternative for the childern, ie, maybe being enlisted by rebels, gangs, starving to death in a hut?
    8. Are adults acting as brokers and pocketing the wages.
    What exactly is bad about child labor on a farm?
    I grew up on a farm.
    I worked my butt off.
    Admittedly, it did not prepare me to become a nasty greedy back stabbing boss or even master of the universe, it didn't hurt me, and yes, I went to school, still worked every day in the summer, lots of days on weekends all year.
    Just because working childeren to death in coal mines in the UK 300 years ago was an evil idea, it does not mean childern harvesting coca pods on a farm is evil.
    Also, coca farming is labor intensive. The pods ripen individually on some types of plants.
    Finally, all farming is labor intensive, unless we are willing, and are given wage increases by the top 10%, 5%, or even 1% who have gotten ALL the income and wealth increases for 20 years, who is going to pay more, be able to pay more, for food products?
    The concentration of wealth into an increasingingly small portion of the population has created a trickly down effect on the economy, trickle down POVERTY. The end result is child labor increasing in the undeveloped world.
    For insight into when child labor will re-start in America, think of how many families where women are now the stable wage earner, and more importantly, the wage earner that has medical insurance for the family. Many women take "bad" jobs at low wages to secure health care for the family. Wow, womens lib really helped women didn't it, it helped them get their husbands lower wages, fired, and making filthy rich execs and bosses RICHER. Debate the good and bad of the movement, but sure enough, that's a bad aspect.
    Can't happen to child labor in America? You are so wrong. The first step back to child labor, because "its cheaper" is to call them interns, oh wait, thanks to our Second Great Depression engineered by banks and insurance companies, and bailed out by the taxpayers, yes, they didn't pay it back, US gov't has 2 trillion in toxic mortgages it can't get rid of, when you get out of college you now have to "intern", ie, BEG to work for free, or a "stipend" that won't cover the cost of commuting and lunch, for YEARS before being able to find a paying job, of any sort. See, we are well on our way to child labor. Next step, college is so expensive, even state colleges, how'd that happen anyway, working class students will have to work their way through college, at min wage jobs, their parent used to hold, until fired and replaced with "cheaper" student labor.
    If it'll make money, corporations will bribe and manipulate the economy until it happens. THAT IS WHAT HAPPENED FOR ALL OF HUMAN HISTORY until the labor movements of the late 1800's and ealy 1900's. Which brought an era of prosperity to America, the developed world, that lasted until the late 80's. Remember how bright and hopefull the future was?
    Now it's history repeating itself. Without LAWS and yes, even taxes to redress income distribution, to protect the 90% of Americans doing the work that makes the rich richer, 90% of Americans will end up in poverty, just like we were, hundreds of years ago.
    Just imagine what that means to the undeveloped world. You think child labor is bad, wait until it's child slavery.

    February 12, 2012 at 12:32 pm | Reply
    • ILE OLUJI ROYAL naija

      Child labour does not mean child slavery in Africa, it means empowerment in wrong way cos it gives those children the opportunity of meeting their needs other than basic ones like education, food and shelter and also support their family business which s subsistence farming. I want to encourage other end user of cocoa to emulate this as it was sign in their last treaty and highlight where they can help this continent to assist in providing basic amenities lik good roads, social centre, health centres,school(free education for ages 4-12yrs) also to invest in research that will give the farmer hybrid/improved cocoa plant that will increase their produce and also allow them to involve directly or indirectly in the pricing. Another area is to locate these areas in West Africa (ILEOLUJI in nigeria, ASHANTE in Chana, COTE IVOIRE and CAMEROON etc). Free education to these children will in no small measure encourage these children to go back to school instaed working on a cocoa farm.

      February 25, 2012 at 1:39 pm | Reply
  48. jon

    There is only one way to solve this problem, anex every place that grows cocoa. Our flag has had 50 stars for far to long, time to add another hundred.

    February 14, 2012 at 6:37 am | Reply
  49. Maria

    This is why I love reading the comments as well as the article. Everyone has very valid points. No one is wrong (despite the fact that everyone thinks that the other person IS wrong). If we could all dialogue (respectfully) about these issues, we might really be able to come up with something that might work. It takes all of our collective experiences and knowledge to resolve big issues like this.

    February 15, 2012 at 2:44 pm | Reply
  50. James

    $10 Million is a joke amount of money in this day with all the extreme inflation.

    February 18, 2012 at 12:43 pm | Reply
  51. bob peters

    all of these peeps should use the time and energy they expend on their diatribe. to remedy the problem.

    February 19, 2012 at 2:46 pm | Reply
  52. Larry 2

    What-t-t-t? Perhaps if Hershey and the other cocoa importers would pay the cocoa farmers a fair adult price for their product the adults themselves would not allow children to harvest the crop. How do I know, common sense tells me so.
    Just look around on your own job – wouldn't you be griping if a child was working alongside you making the same amount of money? Well, the compensation for their cocoa is to small for a family to sustain the household and they need every able body family member involved in order to sustain the family with the minimum necessities. Look, none of these people are making money enough to take vacations abroad, buy a BMW, etc. They're doing this to barely eat a decent meal with a piece of meat SOMETIMES.

    February 21, 2012 at 9:50 am | Reply
  53. Robert

    Hershey is looking out for future sales and nothing more... Who do you think you're fooling anyway?

    February 21, 2012 at 1:21 pm | Reply
  54. Jennifer

    the consumers are paying for this 10 mill donation, don't kid anyone here. We are paying for this. I am going to stop eating and buying chocolate, too expensive

    February 21, 2012 at 8:34 pm | Reply
  55. zaf

    I see the industry is labour intensive. And to save cost industry is looking for child labour.

    Why not industrial nations come forward to introduce machinery for processing the jobs which now the chlidran are doing..

    if better machines and cost effectiveness are deviced child labour will be routed out of this industry.

    February 23, 2012 at 3:44 am | Reply
  56. ILE OLUJI ROYAL naija

    The reality is that these children have never seen chocolate in their entire life. Child labour gives the farmers opportunity to pay less and the children the opportunity of meeting their other needs besides the basic ones like education, food and shelter and also support their family business which is subsistence farming. I want to encourage other end user of cocoa(chocolate manufacturing association in the west) like HERSHEY,NESTLE CHOCOLATE BAR,, MARS etc to emulate this gesture and highlight where they can help this continent to assist in providing basic amenities like good roads, social centre, health centres,school(free education for children between the ages 4-12yrs) also to invest in research that will give the farmer hybrid/improved cocoa plant that will increase their produce and also allow them to involve directly or indirectly in the pricing of cocoa beans in reference to international standard price like crude oil and other natural resources . Another area is to locate these areas in West Africa (ILEOLUJI,Ondo,Idanre in nigeria, ASHANTE in Chana, COTE IVOIRE and CAMEROON etc) and put up a project in these communities that will directly affect the life of these farmers as they deserve more. Free education for these children will in no small measure encourage them to go back to school instead of working on a farm. Government policy in these communities and countries can also discourage child slavery and totally put an end to it. Industrialisation (provision of job for their parents) is also weapon to fight this disease called slavery.

    February 25, 2012 at 2:21 pm | Reply
  57. Mac

    So CNN attacks another American Company over child slavery in Africa and that’s OK. I hope Hershey Lays off more Americans as we can then blame somebody in HERSHY for those layoffs and not the I hate America crowd at CNN. It’s not because the farmers and the governments of these countries are letting it happen, it’s because HERSHEY makes a chocolate bar! I think I will go out today and buy me a HERSHEY bar and 5 more for 5 of my friends and we can enjoy the fruits of these so called child slaves in Africa. Let’s see now that would be the same Africa where their own people are doing this to them! So we can go madly screaming at Hershey about child slaves, so we can feel good about ourselves and not the people really responsible for this, the Africans themselves. Slavery started thousands of years ago in Africa and the Africans themselves have been profiting from it all that time, but we only want to attach HERSHEY. No thanks, I will support Hershey and America on this one.

    February 26, 2012 at 12:30 am | Reply
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  60. Shumaker

    The solution is simple. Capitolism is boiled down to supply and demand. If we demand a fair market product, the farmers will supply it. Educate your friends, your coleauges, your church family. Do not buy chocolate that is made from child slavery. Hershey is relying on the American people to roll over and take what they are told to. I have been buying fair trade chocolate from my church. It is so superior to anything I have had from store shelves.

    April 30, 2012 at 8:37 pm | Reply
    • Mac

      I will support Hershey and go buy more, this is an African issue, not a US issue.

      May 15, 2012 at 3:26 am | Reply
  61. JoshWaddles

    Throw money at it instead of actually doing anything. I'm sure slavery will stop tomorrow.

    May 23, 2012 at 4:43 pm | Reply
  62. Randall Bart

    Hershey has announced that for the next eight years they will continue to buy slave chocolate

    June 19, 2012 at 8:33 pm | Reply
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