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Canada: class action brought against Hershey’s for misleading claims made regarding child labor in their cocoa supply chains
Planet Labor, 5 February 2020, n°11634 - www.planetlabor.com

On 20 January, a Canadian consumer filed a class action lawsuit in the British Columbia Supreme Court against Hershey Canada Inc. and its parent establishments denouncing the fact the confectionery company did not make clear the fact that recourse to child labor and slavery was endemic along its cocoa supply chains. The action aims to establish a Canadian residents consumers group ‘who 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 and reported by the national press. The complainant claims that “Hershey’s failure to disclose these practices amount to a misrepresentation to Canadian consumers,” and places a spotlight on the company’s messages vaunting its “socially and ethically responsible” practices, while they allegedly “permit, encourage and benefit” from child labor, listing the Ivory Coast as one of its primary sources of raw cocoa for more than 50 years. As with Nestlé, for several years Hershey’s has been subject to court proceedings in consumer–related and Ivory Coast cocoa supply-related cases in various US States, although until now not one has succeeded.