The company behind Hershey Kisses and a similarly-named theme park is allegedly refusing to release records that could show whether it uses child labour in West Africa.The Louisiana Municipal Police Employees’ Retirement System, a Hersey Co. shareholder, filed a lawsuit against the chocolate maker claiming it refuses to disclose its cocoa suppliers in West Africa — an area known for its forced child labour, Courthouse News Service reported Monday.
From the lawsuit:
“For more than a decade, Hershey has acknowledged the systemic evils of child and forced labour in the cocoa industries of Ghana and the Ivory Coast and pledged action to eliminate it. Notwithstanding this public pledge, Hershey, which by its own account controls 42 per cent of the market for chocolate products in the United States, has knowingly failed to fulfil its promises. Instead, Hershey has continued to produce and sell chocolate that is the fruit of child and forced labour.”
The retirement system, which claims there is a “a reasonable basis to investigate” the company’s board, asserts Hershey’s is doing irreparable damage to its brand by not releasing the records.
“Unfortunately, Hershey’s purported commitment to children does not extend beyond the borders of the United States,” the retirement system claims. “For well over a decade, Hershey has turned a blind eye to the abusive child labour practices in the West African countries that supply Hershey with the majority of its cocoa and cocoa-derived products[…]”
Hershey’s did not immediately respond to Business Insider’s request for comment.
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