Since 2001, the Hershey company, like many other corporations involved in the cocoa industry, has developed programs in order to eliminate the use of child labor within their supply chain. These programs like the Cocoa link by Hershey is a great idea, however it does not face the ethical issue straight forward. It does not first handedly stop children from working in the cocoa plantations.
Actions that Hershey’s can take:
Hershey’s should embrace the Fair Trade Certification in all of their products. Apart from other certification programs, Fair Trade is the most reputable certification that ensures to protect workers from violations such as forced and child labor. Currently, Hershey has only one fair trade certified product, and it is from their Dagoba line chocolate. Fair Trade Certified™ products are regulated to ensure ethical standards such as safe working conditions and fair pay are in place during the production and development of the product.
The certification of Hershey’s compared to other leading corporations show how far behind Hershey is in tackling the unethical standards in the cocoa industry:
If Hershey provided certification from a third-party organization for all of their products, it would ensure that there are ethical standards and procedures in place during the production of the product.
- Supply-chain transparency programs
Hershey should implement a supply chain program that monitors and audits their supplier’s supply chain. This program would provide information that traces the source of cocoa and verifies it was made under ethical standards and conditions. This is similar to attaining certification. The only difference is that a third-party organization is not involved.
AND, this is a point, that I think all corporations in all industries should do;
- Take Responsibility
Hershey should take responsibility for all of its affiliated organizations. Currently, the Hershey company does not want to release information about its suppliers, fearing that it would decrease the company’s competitive standing. This just further shows that Hershey is not willing to take responsibility by cooperating and pledging accountability to its global supply chain.
What is the best approach?
Including responsibility, I think Hershey should aim to achieve certification with a third-party organization. For now, these third party organizations specialize in ensuring that the development and production of the product is within ethical standards and practices. If Hershey were to develop and implement their own program, it would take more time and resources. Hershey has promised that by 2020, they will source 100% certified cocoa, by engaging with a third-party organization, it will be an easier and faster course of action.