Hershey says it will source 100% certified cocoa for its global chocolate product lines by 2020 and accelerate its programs to help eliminate child labour in the cocoa regions of West Africa.
The company said that certified cocoa will be verified through independent auditors to assure that it is grown in line with the highest internationally recognised standards for labour, environmental and better farming practices.
As Hershey increases its use of certified cocoa, the company will also continue to support community-based programs with local African partners, national governments and development agencies. These projects include village school construction, mobile phone farmer messaging, literacy and health programs and training in modern farming techniques.
Currently, certified cocoa accounts for less than 5% of the world’s cocoa supply. As the largest chocolate manufacturer in North America, Hershey believes its 2020 purchasing commitment should significantly expand the global supply of certified cocoa, particularly from West Africa, which produces about 70% of the world’s cocoa.
“Consistent with Hershey’s values, we are directly addressing the economic and social issues that impact West Africa’s two million cocoa farmers and families,” said J.P. Bilbrey, president and chief executive officer, The Hershey Company. “Expanding the use of certified cocoa across our iconic chocolate brands while working with public and private partners, demonstrates Hershey’s responsible sourcing practices. I am confident that we can make a substantial difference in West Africa by 2020.”
As announced earlier this year, Hershey’s Bliss chocolates will be Rainforest Alliance certified and available to consumers by year end. Hershey’s Dagoba organic chocolate is currently 100% Rainforest Alliance certified. Hershey also said today that its Scharffen Berger brand will source 100% certified cocoa by the end of 2013.