Hershey defines child labor according to the International Labour Organization (ILO) guidelines as work that deprives children of their childhood, their potential and their dignity, and is harmful to physical and mental development.
This is distinct from forced labor, which is defined by the ILO as: Situations in which persons are coerced to work through the use of violence or intimidation, or by more subtle means such as accumulated debt, retention of identity papers or threats of denunciation to immigration authorities*
In cocoa-growing communities, child labor is a complex issue resulting from a mix of poverty, cultural norms and misunderstandings about what constitutes appropriate child work.
Not all work done by children, such as helping their parents around the home and assisting in a family business, is classified broadly as child labor. In many cases, this type of work by children falls within familial or cultural norms. However, a lack of stable income and educational opportunities in rural areas can lead to families requiring children to put in long hours at home and on family farms, which are often the families’ sole source of income. Paired with unawareness about age-appropriate work, this puts children at risk of performing farm work that is hazardous to their health and development.
In cocoa-producing nations, there are recognized types of child labor that, even though they are culturally acceptable, are inappropriate for children. That includes work such as carrying heavy loads like firewood or water, coming into contact with agrochemicals or using sharp-edged tools. This inappropriate child labor is what The Hershey Company and our partners in the cocoa industry have pledged to help eradicate.
As part of its commitment to eliminate child labor, Hershey has implemented a Child Labor Monitoring and Remediation System (CLMRS).
While we are working on the challenge of child labor in cocoa-growing communities, we are proud to report that, as of 2020, our CLMRS found no evidence of forced child labor in Hershey’s cocoa supply chain.
Hershey does not tolerate child labor within our supply chain, and we are working to eliminate it within cocoa communities. By partnering with the International Cocoa Initiative (ICI), the developer of the Child Labor Monitoring and Remediation System, we are now deploying the leading platform for identifying, tracking and remediating child labor problems.
CLMRS is the leading method of detection and remediation of child labor among children ages 5 to 17 years old. It leverages both supply chain structures and community-based groups to identify child labor and to monitor and remediate when cases are found.
CLMRS has four key elements: Prevention, Detection, Remediation and Reporting. Under CLMRS, members of local farmer groups and our suppliers’ staff become facilitators who receive training and build skills to detect and report instances of child labor. At the same time, a community-level child protection committee is equipped to do the same. As trusted community members, both these groups are in the best position to raise community awareness, identify cases of child labor and implement the most appropriate practices to remediate those cases. In many instances, something as simple as providing family farms with a wheelbarrow, clean cook stoves or better tools can have a positive impact. By improving the farmer’s ease and efficiency of completing tasks around the farm, the need for children to lend a hand with more hazardous tasks is reduced.
The Hershey CLMRS programs are implemented by our suppliers on Hershey Cocoa For Good farms and local communities in Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana and actively seek to prevent, identify and remediate any instances of child labor found in our cocoa supply chain.
6,829 (37% girls) children identified doing inappropriate work and in process of remediation
Children enrolled in primary schools that benefited from quality education interventions
School kits provided
Monitoring and Remediation Agents and Community Liaisons (paid and volunteers)
Cook stoves distributed
Birth certificates obtained to enable access to school
of direct-sourced cocoa is covered by CLMRS. We estimate this is about 58% of the way to our goal.
children identified in forced labor
We are encouraged by the early, but positive, impact of CLMRS and the scalability of this system. We recognize, however, that no one organization or initiative will solve all challenges. We will continue to invest and innovate while partnering with governments, NGOs, industry and other organizations as we work to create brighter futures for young people and communities in cocoa-growing regions.
In spring 2020, we committed to achieve 100 percent direct-sourced cocoa in high-risk areas by 2025, which will include all cocoa sourced by our suppliers from Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana. This expanded commitment will make Hershey’s cocoa from these countries traceable from the farm to the first point of purchase, giving us a clear line of sight of cocoa grown in West Africa and how it is produced—providing more transparency for consumers and all stakeholders. It also enables us to scale-up CLMRS to 100 percent of our Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana-sourced cocoa by 2025 to help end child labor.
As part of our holistic effort to eliminate child labor, we seek to prevent child labor from occurring by removing barriers to children being able to attend school. We invest in initiatives and actions that make it easier for children to access and continue their education. Areas we focus on include improving education infrastructure, training school-parent management committees, providing school kits filled with important school supplies, and helping children and youth obtain birth certificates so they can enroll in school.
We have also committed to invest $3 million in the coming years to support the Jacobs Foundation on two new public–private initiatives from 2020 to 2025. The Child Learning and Education Facility (CLEF) will contribute to improved foundational literacy and numeracy skills for 5 million children at the primary level and will also invest in 2,500 new classrooms. The Early Learning and Nutrition Facility (ELAN) is designed to reach 1.3 million children below the age of five and their caregivers, providing quality services and training in early childhood development and nutrition.