Supporting Kids in Cocoa-Growing Communities With 
the Child Labor Monitoring and Remediation System

Understanding Child Labor in the Cocoa Industry

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. Forced labor 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*

*Forced labor is totally unacceptable. It is also extremely rare in cocoa supply chains. A recent report by the International Cocoa Initiative estimates the prevalence of this practice at approximately 1 percent in Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana.

In cocoa-growing communities, child labor is a complex issue resulting from a mix of poverty and cultural norms.

As part of its commitment to prevent and eliminate child labor, Hershey has implemented a Child Labor Monitoring and Remediation System (CLMRS). CLMRS, championed by the International Cocoa Initiative (ICI) and proven to be an effective measure in helping to protect against child labor, is the leading method of child labor detection and remediation among children aged 5 to 17 years old. It is implemented by supply chain partners and community-based groups that identify child labor and monitor and help remediate when cases are found.  We rely on data and reports provided by our suppliers who implement these programs in the field with support from Hershey.

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, poverty and a lack of 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 their sole source of income. 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 form part of local norms and traditions, are inappropriate for children. That includes work such as carrying heavy loads like firewood or water and using sharp-edged tools. More recent farming practices such as the use of agrochemicals also present the risk of inappropriate tasks being carried out by children. This inappropriate child labor is what The Hershey Company and our partners in the cocoa industry have pledged to help prevent and eliminate.

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.

Child Labor Monitoring and Remediation System

Hershey does not tolerate child labor within our supply chain, and we are working to prevent and 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 through our supply partners the leading platform for identifying, tracking and remediating child labor.

CLMRS: A Closer Look

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 are trained to detect and report instances of child labor. A community-level child protection committee is also equipped to do the same. As trusted community members, both 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 children with school supplies, and 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.  

Updates and Progress

Our aim is to expand CLMRS to 100% coverage of our cocoa volume from Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire by 2025. In 2021, we reached approximately 62% of our goal, with CLMRS interventions that help prevent, detect and remediate child labor among children ages 5 to 17 years old.

CLMRS leverages both supply chain structures and community-based groups to help prevent child labor, identify child labor when it exists, and then better monitor and remediate when cases are found.

We have strengthened our CLMRS data methodology to align with the International Cocoa Initiative (ICI) reporting protocol and the World Cocoa Foundation’s Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning framework, which provides more in-depth guidance on definitions and data collection methods as we continue on the path to 100% CLMRS coverage across our cocoa volume in Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire. Our methodologies and reporting indicators better reflect our actions, learnings and results.

While we are working on the challenge of preventing and eliminating child labor in cocoa-growing communities, to date CLMRS found no evidence of forced child labor in Hershey’s cocoa supply chain since its 2018 inception. Hershey is also a member of ICI’s Forced Labor Sub-Group, working with our peers and technical experts to advance knowledge, skills and action on preventing, monitoring, identifying and addressing forced labor in cocoa supply chains worldwide.

As of 2021

102,942 children were covered by our supplier-led CLMRS programs last year. These are children that live in cocoa farming households within our Cocoa For Good program and are receiving the benefits of this program that seeks to prevent child labor from happening, identify instances of child labor and take action when found. We are on track to meet our commitment of 100% coverage of farmers producing Hershey’s cocoa volume in Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana by 2025, achieving 62% since we began implementing CLMRS in 2018.  

11,519 children in total were identified via CLMRS in Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana since the program began in 2018 as doing inappropriate work and are in process of remediation. 

1,899 children were found to no longer be doing inappropriate work or have aged out of the CLMRS program. An important aspect of CLMRS is to permanently remediate instances of child labor.

Capacity building is part of making CLMRS work. We continually strengthen our monitoring and remediation work through agents and community liaisons, which are a combination of paid workers and volunteers. In 2021, we had 841 agents and liaisons, as we consolidate our program to focus more on paid agents to implement CLMRS.

Our CLMRS programs found no evidence of forced child labor in Hershey’s cocoa supply chain in 2021, and we have found no instances since launching the programs in 2018.

2021 Remediation Details

2,859

School kits

613

Birth certificates 

266

Children with school fees paid 

100

Enrolled in bridge classes

63

Enrolled in vocational training

13

Wheelbarrows

700

Cookstoves


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.

Expanding CLMRS to 100 Percent of Our Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana Cocoa Sourcing Volumes

In spring 2020, we committed to achieve 100 percent visibility into the farmer groups participating in our Cocoa For Good program by 2025, which will include all of the cocoa volume 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 into where and how this cocoa is grown — providing more transparency for consumers and all stakeholders. It also enables us to expand CLMRS to cover 100 percent of our Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana-sourced cocoa volume by 2025.

Prevention is the Priority

Preventing Child Labor Through Access to Education and School-Based Nutrition

As part of our holistic effort to eliminate child labor, we seek to remove 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.

A full stomach improves a student’s ability to concentrate and learn — this can be the deciding factor in whether a child attends school. In collaboration with Ghana’s Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection, the Ghana National School Feeding Programme, and our suppliers, Hershey has been distributing ViVi, a peanut-based vitamin fortified snack, daily to school children in cocoa-growing communities in Ghana since 2015. ViVi, developed by Hershey and our partner Project Peanut Butter, provides children with 30 percent of their daily nutritional intake requirements.

  • In 2021, we reached approximately 25,000 children daily in Ghana. In addition, ViVi is produced in Ghana in a factory that employs local men and women and provides a secure market for Ghanaian peanut farmers. 
  • In February 2021, production and distribution began in Côte d’Ivoire, thanks to a partnership with the country’s National Nutrition Council and a new Hershey-funded ViVi factory at San Pedro, in southwestern Côte d’Ivoire.  

By the end of 2021, distribution reached at total of 45,000 schoolchildren across both countries. Knowing that children will be fed at school is another reason to ensure they go to class, making it an important preventative tool in the fight against child labor. Research Hershey commissioned shows that providing ViVi improves children’s health and increases school enrollment and regular attendance while also enabling improved academic performance.  

We are also investing $3 million to support the Jacobs Foundation’s Child Learning and Education Facility (CLEF), which contributes to improved foundational literacy and numeracy skills for 5 million children at the primary level and is helping build 2,500 new classrooms.

Our 2021 CLMRS Results

Our 2021 CLMRS Results