University students end Hershey’s protest

Chelsey Fisher

University students have recently ended their protest against Hershey’s Chocolate, after the company released a statement promising to work toward accelerating programs to help eliminate child labor in West Africa, where their cocoa is sourced.

Hershey’s will also source 100 percent of its cocoa by 2020, according to a press release from the company.

Sophomore advertising major Caleb Evington has not eaten Hershey’s Chocolate in four years to protest the child labor practices in Africa, he said.

Evington began boycotting all chocolate brands that do not use “ethical practices” last fall, he said.

Evington knows 20-30 other students protesting chocolate, but says there may be more.

To determine what brands to boycott, Evington looks for the Fair Trade logo on packages.

“There are also other programs that are sustainable,” Evington said. “But those are usually listed on packages as well.”

Most big-name chocolate companies do not currently use ethical ways of obtaining cocoa, Evington said.

Some students have also written letters and emails to companies, Evington said.

“Consistent with Hershey’s values, we are directly addressing the economic and social issues that impact West Africa’s two million cocoa farmers and families,” President of Hershey’s Company J.P. Bilbrey said in a press release. “Expanding the use of certified cocoa across our iconic chocolate brands while working with public and private partners, demonstrates Hershey’s responsible sourcing practices. I am confident that we can make a substantial difference in West Africa by 2020.”

Evington is “absolutely thrilled” about the results of the protest.

“These sorts of announcements give us proof that consumers really can have an impact on company’s policies and I hope that more and more people will realize that the public can continue to make a difference globally,” Evington said.

“This is exactly what I wanted to happen in response to the letters sent in protest and the decrease in sales,” Evington said. “I have read over Hershey’s plan thoroughly and it seems like their plan is pretty solid.”

Story: KALEIGH BASILE, Intern News Reporter and CHELSEY FISHER, News Editor