PRLog - Dec. 5, 2012 - SAN DIEGO -- A current investor in shares of The Hershey Company (NYSE:HSY) filed a lawsuit against directors of The Hershey Company (NYSE:HSY) in effort to get access to the company’s books and records to determine whether the company uses cocoa produced through unlawful child labor in Africa.
If you are a current long term investor in shares of The Hershey Company (NYSE:HSY) you have certain options and you should should contact the Shareholders Foundation at email@example.com or call +1(858) 779 - 1554.
The plaintiff alleges that as far back as 2001, reports on the use of child labor, forced labor and human trafficking on cocoa farms in West Africa raised awareness of the U.S. House of Representatives to the problem and the House of Representatives consecutively passed a proposed amendment to the FDA and Related Agencies Appropriations Act that would require "slave-free"
However, before the amended act was presented for a Senate vote, major cocoa producers, including the Hershey Company, promised to correct these human rights abuses without need for legislation. Later in 2001, the Hershey Company and other companies signed the ‘Harkin-Engel Protocol’, an agreement to eliminate illegal child labor in high cocoa producing countries in West Africa.
However, so the plaintiff, numerous reports have revealed that the signatories of Harkin-Engel Protocol have failed to comply with their promises and that forced labor and illegal child labor remain prevalent within the cocoa industry.
The plaintiff says that the board of directors denied access to inspect the minutes of any board meeting during which there was discussion of unlawful labor or trafficking in the company's supply chain, as well as compliance with the Harkin-Engel Protocol and did not provide a complete list of suppliers from which The Hershey Company has purchased cocoa over the past 10 years.
The plaintiff claims that while the Hershey Company and other signatories of the Harkin-Engel Protocol promised to implement industry-wide standards by 2005 that cocoa products would be produced without illegal child labor, The Hershey Company and other signatories now allegedly say it will take until 2020 to honor those promises. The plaintiff says that that Hershey's alleged continued delays in certifying its products as slave-free has resulted in an erosion of its reputation and its conduct is beginning to harm its business relationships, which could ultimately cost the Hershey Company millions in profits.
The plaintiff seeks a court order forcing the Hershey Company to open its corporate records so the investor can determine whether the board of directors has permitted the Hershey Company to engage in unlawful acts and has breached its fiduciary duties.
The Hershey Company reported that its annual Revenue increased from over $5.13 billion in 2008 to over $6.08 billion in 2011 and its Net Income rose from $311.40 million in 2008 to $628.96 million in 2011.
Shares of the Hershey Company (NYSE:HSY) grew from as low as $31.99 per share in March 2009 to as high as $72.54 per share in July 2012.
On November 1, 2012, NYSE:HSY shares closed at $69.72 per share.
Those who are current long term investors in shares of The Hershey Company (NYSE:HSY) you have certain options and you should should contact the Shareholders Foundation at firstname.lastname@example.org or call +1(858) 779 - 1554.