The Hershey Co. (NYSE: HSY) announced that 30 percent of its globally sourced cocoa was independently certified and verified. This reflects an accelerated pace for achieving its goal of sourcing 100 percent of its cocoa supply from certified and sustainable cocoa farms by 2020. The announcement follows the company’s 2013 achievement of sourcing 18 percent certified cocoa globally, nearly double its original goal of 10 percent for the first year of its 2020 commitment.
Given its accelerated momentum toward 100 percent certified and sustainable cocoa, Hershey also announced a new target to source at least 50 percent certified cocoa by the end of 2015, reaching its 2016 goal of 40 and 50 percent one year ahead of schedule.
“Sourcing sustainable cocoa is a key part of our 21st Century Cocoa Sustainability Strategy, which focuses on programs that improve the livelihoods of cocoa farmers, their families and cocoa communities around the world,” said Terry O’Day, senior vice president and chief supply chain officer. “We are proud of our rapid progress in just two years and our alignment with the industry’s efforts to address the challenges in cocoa growing regions through the CocoaAction initiative led by the World Cocoa Foundation. Together, the cocoa and chocolate industry can bring training that helps improve livelihoods, gender equality and provide health and farm safety programs to benefit these communities.”
Hershey is currently sourcing certified cocoa through three of the world’s largest and most recognized cocoa certifications: UTZ Certified, Fair Trade USA and Rainforest Alliance Certified™. During the past year, Hershey has been expanding its work with industry partners to build sustainable farm training through the Hershey Learn to Grow program in Ghana, Nigeria and Cote d’Ivoire. In 2014, the company announced that more than 19,000 cocoa farmers in Cote d’Ivoire will be enrolled in Learn to Growagricultural and community training programs. These efforts have led to an increase in certified farms and verified sustainable cocoa, which will contribute to Hershey’ sourcing 100 percent cocoa that is certified and originates from sources that have been independently audited and verified for appropriate farming, labor and environmental practices.
Hershey’s 100 percent certified and sustainable cocoa commitment is one part of Hershey’s ongoing commitment to support sustainable cocoa farming through its 21st Century Cocoa Sustainability Strategy. Hershey’s cocoa strategy is part of the broader cocoa-industry efforts through CocoaAction to improve product, family livelihoods and communities across the cocoa-growing sector in Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire.