Hershey Sued Over African Cocoa Farm Child Labor Accusations An investor group is suing the United States largest chocolate manufacturing company Hershey Co. , for allegedly using cocoa that is the product of child labor. The Louisiana Municipal Police Employee’s Retirement System filed a lawsuit in October of 2012, which seeks to force Hershey to open its corporate records for investors. This public pension fund, made up of Hershey shareholders believes that records could reveal the leading U. S. hocolate maker violated federal child trafficking laws, by using cocoa from suppliers in Ghana and Ivory Coast, West Africa. (Hsu) The article entitled, “Hershey Accused Of Using Child Labor In Africa” stated that, “For more than a decade, Hershey has acknowledged the systemic evils of child and forced labor in the cocoa industries of Ghana and the Ivory Coast and pledged action to eliminate it. Notwithstanding this public pledge, Hershey, which by its own account for 42 percent of the market for chocolate products in the United States, has knowingly failed to fulfill its promises.
Instead, Hershey has continued to produce and sell chocolate that is the fruit of child and forced labor. ” (Rogers) Reports have shown that child labor situations in Africa are heartrending. Children are taken away from their families, sold by their families, lured by false promises of education and a paying job; when in reality they are placed in slave-like conditions. Any go without sufficient food, shelter, or clothing. Physical injures caused by hazardous working environments, abuse, and lost contact with family, are the hand dealt to these children daily.
The child labor situation in the West African cocoa sector is tragic. According to the Green Biz article, “An estimated 73 percent of the world’s four million tons of cocoa is produced by more than two million cocoa farms spread across West Africa. Cote d’Ivoire alone exports more than $2. 3 billion in cocoa annually, amounting to about 10 percent of its GDP. ” (Stevens) The U. S Department of Labor did a study, that estimated more than 1. 8 million children in Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire are employed in cocoa-related agriculture, and most of them work without pay. Stevens) After reading the book, Grounding for the Metaphysics of Morals by Immanuel Kant, I have gained an overall understanding of how a Kantian would evaluate one’s choices and actions. Kant states that, “ A good will is good not because of what it effects or accomplishes, nor because of its fitness to attain some proposed end; it is good only through its willing, i. e. , it is good in itself. ” (Kant) Kantians believe that a good will is the only thing in the entire universe that is intrinsically good.
Without good will to control and guide the way we live; we have the potential to do unheard of evils. What can be crueler then taking kids away from their parents and placing them in a slave-like system for agriculture work? Kantians would say, that the directors of Hershey are driven by their inclinations and desires. They have a duty, as powerful people to help in changing the life of these children, but have ignored reason and their duty and have produce a bad will which executed their decision. The Hershey company is treating itself as merely as a mean.
They are less concerned about the children life’s they are destroying and care more about the millions of dollars they make off these children. This is the action of bad will and this action has no moral worth. Whole Foods Market said it has halted orders of Scharffen Berger chocolates, which one of the Hershey Company’s artisan chocolate brands. Whole Foods ceased orders over concerns about child labor in Hershey’s West African supply actions. Whole Foods says, “Chocolates will remain off store shelves, pending receiving further information from Hershey’s. (Stevens) The example above is an example of an action that has moral worth. Whole Food Market has lost some capital by their action, but they are not doing it for a favorable outcome, they are doing it because it’s the right thing to do. That makes their action one of moral worth. Hershey responded by saying it is committed to ensuring that all of its cocoa by 2020 will come from suppliers that meet international labor standards. “We have been involved in ground programs, working with public and private partners, to help eliminate inappropriate labor practices in cocoa communities,” said a statement from Hershey legal team.
I love chocolate but after doing this research I can know longer enjoy the pressure of eating Hershey’s, while over a million children are forced into labor in the production of a profit company. This saddened me to read the statistics and to see that mainstream news companies have turned a blind eye to this injustice. Works Cited Hals, Tom. Hershey Accused Of Using Cocoa Suppliers That Employ Child Labor. 1 november 2012. Huff Post. 12 october 2012 <http://www. huffingtonpost. com/2012/11/02/hershey-child-labor_n_2060702. html>. Hsu, Tiffany.
Hershey sued over African cocoa farm child labor accusations. 1 novermber 2012 <http://www. latimes. com/business/money/la-fi-mo-hershey-cocoa-child-labor-20121102,0,7469915. story>. Kant, Immanuel. Grounding for the Metaphysics of Morals . n. d. Rogers, Abby. 5 November 2012. <http://www. businessinsider. com/hershey-accused-of-using-child-labor-2012-11>. Stevens, Harry. Child labor concerns across Hershey’s supply chain prove it pays to be proactive. 13 october 2012 <http://www. greenbiz. com/blog/2012/10/18/child-labor-concerns-hershey-supply-chain>.