The Hershey Company was started in 1894. This was a result of “Milton Hershey’s decision to produce sweet chocolate as a coating for his caramels” . After 1900, milk chocolate began in mass-production. Due to initial success, Hershey began to increase production facilities, which was established in 1905. In 1907, the Hershey Company expanded its line to include Kisses, which was trademarked in 1924. New products were increasingly added during the next two decades. This was amplified when World War II began, and the company began providing chocolate ration bars to soldiers. After the war, Reeses was cultivated in its relationship with the Hershey Company. Today, the company is the unrivaled provider of chocolate in North America .
The Hershey Company “is the largest producer of quality chocolate in North America and a global leader in chocolate and sugar confectionery” . This is evident as the Hershey Company “offers confectionery products under more than 80 brand names, including such iconic brands as Hershey’s, Reese’s, Hershey’s Kisses, Hershey’s Bliss, Hershey’s Special Dark, Kit Kat, Twizzlers, Jolly Rancher, and Ice Breakers” . In addition to these, the Hershey Company offers “preminum and artisan chocolate products under such brands as Scharffen Berger and Dagoba through the Artisan Confections Company, a wholly owned subsidiary” . The company is continuing to expand its product line.
During 2012, allegations came against Hershey company for using child labor . The situation became addressed during the Raise the Bar campaign, but was left unanswered for an extended period of time. In fact, the International Labor Rights Forum threatened to “air an ad about Hershey’s child labor issues on a jumbotron screen outside Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis” during the Super Bowl . This apparently got the attention of the company. As a result, Hershey “pledged to use only cocoa that has been certified by the Rainforest Alliance for its line of Bliss chocolates” . Towards the end of the year, it was discovered that “Hershey was being sued based on allegations that its suppliers use illegal child labor” . Therefore, based on the allegations, Hershey has a problem within their supply chain.
The purpose of the research being conducted is to determine whether or not Hershey uses illegal child labor in obtaining its cocoa for use in its chocolate. In addition, the research will determine whether or not Hershey has taken steps to refute these allegations. The third goal of the research is to determine what exactly the supply chain for Hershey entails. If the company is, in fact, guilty of using illegal child labor, research will be performed in order to determine what Hershey has done in retribution to society. This could include current goals or future goals. This is important because it shows the forward thinking of the company and its progression in maturity.
What companies beside the Hershey Company have been implicated in using illegal child labor to obtain supplies? Where?
Is there any correlation between countries that allegedly use illegal child labor? For example, do more companies receive supplies from one specific country that allegedly use child labor?
If the Hershey Company used guilty suppliers, what repatriations has it previous, currently, or plan to contribute to those affected?
If the Hershey Company used guilty suppliers, how can it better monitor its supply chain to ensure that ethical behaviors are followed at all times?
How should the Hershey Company address the public if its suppliers are found to have used illegal child labor? By this, should the company make a public announcement regarding the situation and detail its proposed solution or should it handle the situation quietly?
- Bloxham, E. (2012, November 16). Chocolate and Child Labor: A Hurdle for Hershey. Retrieved January 25, 2014, from CNN Money: http://management.fortune.cnn.com/2012/11/16/hershey-child-labor-suit/
- Polis, C. (2012, February 1). Hershey’s Child Labor: Chocolate Company to Source Independently Certified Cocoa by End of 2012. Retrieved January 25, 2014, from The Huffington Post: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/02/01/hersheys-child-labor_n_1247111.html
- The Hershey Company. (2014). Company Profile. Retrieved January 25, 2014, from Hershey: http://www.thehersheycompany.com/investors/company-profile.aspx
- The Hershey Company. (2014). Hershey’s History. Retrieved January 25, 2014, from The Hershey Company: http://www.thehersheycompany.com/about-hershey/our-story/hersheys-history.aspx