Lawyers representing the Louisiana Municipal Police Employees' Retirement System (LAMPERS) have sued Hershey (NYSE: HSY), alleging the confectionary giant uses cocoa produced with unlawful child and forced labor in Africa. LAMPERS is a Hershey shareholder.
Law firm Grant & Eisenhofer (G&E), which specializes in areas like securities and corporate governance law, filed the lawsuit yesterday. The lawsuit seeks to open corporate records to shareholder scrutiny. G&E alleges that in the past decade Hershey "has thrown up multiple roadblocks to reasonable examination of its conduct."
The lawyers in particular talk about child labor practices in Ghana and the Ivory Coast and say Hershey listed these two West African countries as "major sourcing countries" in a 2011 report.
Hershey has more than 80 brands and revenues of more than $6 billion.