The Hershey Company: Broken Pledge to Stop Using Child Labour
Michele Buck became the first woman president and chief executive officer of the Hershey Company (Hershey) in 2017 and was elected as chair of the board in 2019. Now, in 2021, she was leading a company that was facing supply chain and legal challenges. Although Hershey was dedicated to bringing "goodness to the world," the company was accused of having broken its 2001 pledge to uproot child labour from its cocoa supply chain. Global pressure for greater supply chain transparency and compliance with human rights increased throughout 2020, and in 2021, Hershey became a defendant in a US federal class-action lawsuit alleging harms caused by child labour. With an annual shareholders' meeting pending on May 17, 2021, Buck had to decide how to mitigate the risks and deal with potential fines of up to US$500 million.