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Article

2 Nov 2021

Author:
Allie Brudney, Corporate Accountability Lab

USA: NGO files consumer lawsuit in Washington DC against Hershey & Rainforest Alliance, alleging deceptive marketing & hazardous child labour on certified farms in Côte d’Ivoire

"CAL Files Suit against Hershey and Rainforest Alliance", November 2, 2021

Corporate Accountability Lab (CAL) is excited to announce that on October 27, 2021 we filed suit against Hershey and the certification scheme Rainforest Alliance in a consumer protection case in Washington, D.C. Superior Court. CAL, as the plaintiff in the case, is suing the defendants -- Hershey and Rainforest Alliance -- for false and deceptive marketing representations on certain Hershey chocolate products. We are bringing suit under the Washington, D.C. Consumer Protection Procedures Act (“CPPA”), a consumer protection statute that allows public interest organizations like CAL to sue on behalf of the general public. 

The West African cocoa industry continues to suffer from endemic issues of child labor, forced child labor, and farmer poverty -- a result of low prices that wealthy multinational companies pay for cocoa. Meanwhile, social auditing and certification schemes like Rainforest Alliance, which purport to help farmers produce cocoa “sustainably,” are failing them. Over the past year, CAL’s investigators have documented instances of hazardous child labor on Rainforest Alliance certified farms in different parts of Cote d’Ivoire and spoken with farmers who explain that they don’t earn enough from cocoa farming to support their families.

... To learn more about the case, you can read the complaint here and a press release here. You can also read this blog describing incidences of hazardous child labor on Rainforest Alliance certified cocoa farms in Cote d’Ivoire.