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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.

However, not all work done by children, such as helping their parents around the home and assisting in a family business, need be classified broadly as child labor. In many cases, this type of work by children falls within familial or cultural norms. But in the poverty-stricken 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 for clearing away bushes. This inappropriate child labor is what The Hershey Company and our partners in the cocoa industry have pledged to help eradicate.

As it pertains to the cocoa farming industry, child labor is distinct from forced labor or slave labor, which puts children at the greatest risk. 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 child labor has the highest priority for elimination from within the cocoa supply chain.

As part of its commitment to eliminate child labor, Hershey has implemented a Child Labor Monitoring and Remediation System (CLMRS). As of 2019, our CLMRS found no evidence of forced child labor in Hershey’s cocoa supply chain.

Child Labor Monitoring and Remediation System (CLMRS)

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 in 2018, we have now deployed the leading platform for identifying, tracking and remediating child labor problems. The Hershey CLMRS programs actively seek to prevent, identify and remediate any instances of child labor found in our cocoa supply chain.

In 2018 and 2019, our suppliers implemented CLMRS on Hershey Cocoa For Good farms and local communities in Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana.

Our CLMRS Results

  • In 2018-2019, our Hershey CLMRS programs reviewed and assessed 68,988 children who were living in cocoa communities.
  • Of the children assessed by the monitoring system, 6.7% (4,616) were found to be doing inappropriate work and benefitted from our CLMRS programs as of the end of 2019.
  • There were zero instances of forced labor identified within this segment of the Hershey cocoa supply chain.

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, non-governmental organizations, industry and other organizations as we work to create brighter futures for young people and communities in cocoa-growing regions.

Next Steps: Scaling CLMRS to 100% of Our Cote d’Ivoire and Ghana Cocoa Sources

In spring 2020, we committed to achieve 100% direct-sourced cocoa in high-risk areas by 2025, which will include all cocoa sourced by our suppliers from Cote 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% of our Cote d’Ivoire and Ghana-sourced cocoa by 2025 to help end 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 and was developed through the International Cocoa Initiative (ICI). It leverages both supply chain structures and community-based groups to identify child labor and to monitor and remediate when cases are found.

Our CLMRS programs are a part of our Cocoa For Good sustainable sourcing program.

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.

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