Give love. Not Hershey's.

Hurry! Quick! Go here and send your favorite people a super cute e-valentine! DO IT!!!

Now please continue reading my Debbie Downer message about Hershey's.

Occasionally, you should stop and remind yourself it is Friday so you don't get too depressed. --Also, that in one month it is OFFICIALLY SPRING and HOLY CRAP I am ready.


So, okay, I know we all do our own thing on Valentine's Day. Personally, we aren't super into it at the Robertson abode, but I do like a day that makes chocolate a priority (as well as love, diamonds, making guys feel like crap for not being original, blahblah).

Okay, if I'm being honest, there is a teensy (not so teensy) part of me that dreams Hollywood dreams for this day...but then I remember I'm uncomfortable at fancy restaurants, I'd rather save our money to travel and that fresh flowers, wine and a great husband are waaaaay better than a day o'consuming all things red and sparkly.

(Oh, hi. I've pretty much spent the last week sequestered to our one-bedroom apartment so if I'm not making sense it's because I'm just SO. EXCITED. TO. SEE. YOU! Please don't go.)


So, anyway, chocolate.

Ever since I've been looking into the issue of fair trade, it seems my ethically conscious consumer senses have been heightened. Which is a good thing, I think, except the sirens have been going totally crazy when it comes to a company that I've done (more than) my share of supporting to feed my choco-love...and that company, as you may have guessed, is Hershey's.

It started when a friend of mine (hi, Chrissy!) sent me this article and told me she stopped buying Hershey's products altogether.

It continued as I've received several emails from Free2Work, an organization Liana mentioned.

It blared as I did my own research and found several sites calling for Hershey's to step up and make some changes.

Why Hershey's? Good question.

According to change.org, Hershey's has received increased pressure to release their corporate social responsibility (CSR) policies and practices, which it finally did in 2010. This is actually a good thing, as corporate watchdogs (and regular ol' consumers) are calling for serious changes to be made in the cocoa industry, which is rife with child labor, human trafficking, and very dangerous working conditions.

Change.org also points out that while Hershey's is by no means the sole offender in said atrocities, Hershey "stands out as the only company that has no policy in place to trace its cocoa and ensure and independently verify that certain standards are met."

Further, as explained by Awakened Aesthetic, "Hershey, which has the largest market share in the US at 42.5%, gets the majority of their chocolate from – you guessed it! – West Africa."

So, Hershey's has released that it gets its cocoa from the region in West Africa that is known for the above offenses...yet they will not release any specifics regarding their cocoa, which allows them to fly under the radar in regard to accountability.

(Except actually it's just making a bunch of people really mad so they should just get with the program, be transparent and deal with the consequences.)

Something to keep in mind in this season of cocoa consumption. 
Or as some would say, food for thought (yuk yuk yuk).

You can take action, and learn more about Hershey as well as other chocolate companies by visiting Free2Work's company ratings here.


Note: I have to point out, and perhaps this is my unwillingness to let go of my beloved Reese's or Hershey's dark chocolate chips (when baking...OKAY OR BY THE HANDFUL. Judge me!)...but one thing that is frustrating/confusing for me, the novice at this kind of thing, is that the very corporate rating system that seems the most active (Free2Work, as mentioned several times above), ranks Hershey's as a C-.

However, other companies that are not under the axe as much, are given WORSE ratings. (Dove=D. Godiva=D-.) What is up with that?


lauren said...

Wow. Thanks again for finding this information and putting it in front of people like me, who care but don't seek it out!
Do you think Hershey's is experiencing more pressure than Godiva & Dove because it controls such a large portion of the market?
I wonder where Ghirardelli is on the grading scale...their bittersweet chocolate chips are my go-to indulgence.

Sara said...

I think you're right. However, other companies have come under fire in the past for their corporate wrongdoings in the field of chocolate production...which I think is why Hershey's has been so slow with producing forthcoming information.

ALSO, I TOTALLY hear you on Ghiradelli! I know I just posted Nutella brownies but I will be honest, really nothing homemade can beat out Ghiradelli's brownie mix! IT IS THAT GOOD!

Austin & Terri said...

Who makes Nestle Tollhouse chocolate chips? That's what I buy...I hope their reputable b/c I'm obsessed.

Austin & Terri said...


Sara said...

Terri-Nestle produces those. They got into some trouble in the past (http://www.globalexchange.org/campaigns/fairtrade/cocoa/3391.html)
but it looks like they are at least working towards creating more corporate responsibility (http://www.foodproductiondaily.com/Supply-Chain/Nestle-report-focuses-on-corporate-responsibility)
Specifically according to the above link, when it comes to cocoa production:
"The company is also a member of the International Cocoa Initiative (ICI) and the World Cocoa Foundation, organisations set up to regulate cocoa trading around the world."

I couldn't find them listed in product searches on other websites though so there could be more current info that I don't know.

...so I think it's okay? Maybe? Probably? :)