CREDO Action

Tell Hershey, Nestlé and Mars: Stop using child labor

Sign the petition

The petition to Hershey, Nestlé and Mars reads:

"Twenty years after major chocolate makers pledged to eradicate child labor in the cocoa harvest, children are still fueling the chocolate industry. Child labor is unethical and illegal – stop using children to produce your chocolate."

    Tell Hershey, Nestlé and Mars: Stop using child labor

    Nearly two decades ago, Mars, Nestlé and Hersey pledged to stop using cocoa harvested by children. Yet, odds are that a chocolate bar eaten this Halloween is a product of child labor.1

    Much of the chocolate bought and sold in the United States starts with child labor. Children as young as 10-years-old are purchased, transported across borders to cocoa farms and barred from educational opportunities in order to work for under a dollar a day. 2 Mars, Nestlé and Hersey are at the root of the problem and are fueling a multibillion-dollar industry driven by the labor of millions of children. It's time to raise our voices and demand these corporations uproot child labor from their chocolate.

    Tell Mars, Nestlé and Hersey: No more excuses. Eradicate child labor from your cocoa supply chains now.

    Over the last two decades, Mars, Nestlé, Hershey and other chocolate companies have set and missed deadlines to remove child labor from their cocoa supply chains. These companies promised to meet deadlines to fully end their use of child labor by 2005, 2008 and 2010. Each deadline has been missed and extended – and now, they have indicated that they will once again miss their 2020 deadline.3 Their lack of action on ending child labor is unacceptable. The chocolate industry brings in over $103 billion in sales annually, yet has only spent $150 million over the course of 18 years to address child labor. It is clear that ending child labor is not a priority for Mars, Nestlé and Hershey for as long as it continues to bring in profits from its unethical business practices.

    Close to two-thirds of the world's cocoa supply comes from West Africa, where 2 million children are engaged in hazardous work in the cocoa industry – either working on their parents' farms or with other trafficked children. Children are forced to engage in dangerous labor practices like swinging machetes and other sharp tools, spraying pesticides, burning fields and lifting heavy loads. International authorities consider cocoa farming one of the "worst forms of child labor."4

    The eradication of child labor in the chocolate industry is 20 years late. Mars, Nestlé and Hershey have a moral responsibility to act now to deal with this dangerous epidemic. Abdication of this responsibility is abhorrent, and we demand accountability. Can you add your name to demand an end to child labor in our chocolates?

    Tell Mars, Nestlé and Hersey: No more excuses. Eradicate child labor from your cocoa supply chains now.

    References:

    1. Peter Whoriskey and Rachel Siegel, "Cocoa’s child laborers," The Washington Post, June 5, 2019.
    2. Dan Nosowitz, "Your Chocolate Bar Was Probably Produced With Child Labor," Modern Farmer, June 28, 2019.
    3. Whoriskey and Siegel, "Cocoa’s child laborers."
    4. Bureau of International Labor Affairs, "Child Labor in the Production of Cocoa," U.S. Department of Labor, accessed October 30, 2019.