Canada: Consumers file class action lawsuit against Hershey for misleading claims made regarding child labour in their supply chains

Author: Business Vancouver, Published on: 3 February 2020

"Class action claims Hershey products sold in Canada tainted by ‘worst forms of child labour," 31 Jan 2020

Mark Reynolds filed a notice of civil claim under the Class Proceedings Act in BC Supreme Court on January 20, naming Hershey Canada, the Hershey Co. and Hershey Chocolate & Confectionary Corp. as defendants.

The proposed class consists of Canadian residents who bought chocolate products who “were unaware of the use of child labour and slavery in the Defendants’ supply chain; and would not have purchased chocolate products manufactured and/or marketed by the Defendants as often or at all, or would not have paid as much ... if they had been aware of the use of child labour and slavery.”...

According to the lawsuit, Hershey touts its practices as “socially and ethically responsible” and that it opposes the use of child labour while they allegedly “permit, encourage and benefit” from child labour, listing the Ivory Coast as one of its primary sources of raw cocoa for more than 50 years. In the period between 2008 and 2014, the number of children working in the African country’s cocoa industry grew 46%, a period during which “the Defendants realized a profit in excess of $15 billion.” A U.S. Department of Labour report, according to the lawsuit, found that from 2013 to 2014 more than 1.1 million children “were engaged in the Worst Forms of Child Labor, including hazardous work, the use of dangerous tools, transport of heavy loads, and exposure to dangerous pesticides.”

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Related companies: Hershey