The Hershey Co. has launched a new cocoa sustainability strategy, Cocoa For Good. The strategy addresses the most pressing issues facing cocoa-growing communities: poverty, poor nutrition, at-risk youth and vulnerable ecosystems. With Cocoa For Good, Hershey says it seeks to bring positive change in these areas through collaborative programs, partnerships and significant investment, including a half-a-billion-dollar commitment by 2030.
“A sustainable cocoa supply depends on a multi-stakeholder collaborative approach to find solutions to the social, environmental and economic challenges facing cocoa-growing communities,” said Susanna Zhu, chief procurement officer. “As a critical player in the cocoa value chain, we are committed to doing our part. The Hershey Co. has been partnering with key stakeholders in the cocoa sector for more than 100 years. Under Cocoa For Good, we continue to work toward a future where there’s a long-term, sustainable cocoa supply, the natural environment is protected, and we are creating better lives for everyone. It’s good for the cocoa farmers, families, communities, chocolate consumers and the success of our business.”
Cocoa For Good focuses investments and work in four key areas: nourishing children, elevating youth, prospering communities and preserving ecosystems. Hershey’s strategy prioritizes:
- Increased family access to good nutrition. “The Hershey legacy is based on the core ideal of providing opportunities for children to succeed,” the company says. “Healthy minds start with the right nutrition and improving access to food has a positive ripple effect—enabling children to reach their potential in school and adults to thrive in their jobs.”
- Elimination of child labor and increased youth access to education opportunities. Hershey says is working with partners to equip youth in cocoa-growing regions with the skills and resources they need to build successful futures, in their local communities and beyond. Elimination of child labor, a known symptom of poverty, is a fundamental component of this ambition.
- Increased household incomes for women and men. Growing the opportunity and means for women and men to sustain healthy livelihoods in cocoa-growing communities is essential to safeguarding the future of these communities. Hershey is investing in programs to economically empower women and help all farmers support prosperous businesses.
- Zero deforestation and increased agroforestry. Thriving cocoa communities are built on healthy ecosystems, so Hershey says it is working to protect forests and climates by investing in innovative agroforestry methods and growing cocoa in shaded areas that are more productive.
“Cocoa is a tremendous part of the livelihoods for the people of Côte D’Ivoire and public-private partnerships are critical to improving the lives of people living in cocoa communities and protecting our precious natural resources,” said H.E. Daniel Kablan Duncan, Vice President of the Republic of Côte D’Ivoire. “We value our partnership with The Hershey Company and look forward to working together to bring about the meaningful change that this new investment will catalyze.”
Cocoa For Good is expected to impact the lives of thousands of farmers in cocoa-growing regions with a focus on West Africa where about 70 percent of the world’s cocoa is grown.
Owusu Prempeh, from Kwame Adu in the New Edubiase District of Ghana, has been farming cocoa for the last five years and through collaborative initiatives from The Hershey Co., she has received training and support to increase cocoa yields year over year.
“I have sold cocoa to many companies, but I have not benefitted from them like I have with Hershey. The trainings have increased productivity on my farm, especially with the extensive pruning of my cocoa trees,” said Prempeh. “I am grateful to Hershey for the premiums they paid to us. We used part of our premium to purchase school uniforms, school bags, books and other school accessories to support school children in the community.”
The Hershey Co., headquartered in Hershey, Pennsylvania, has approximately 18,000 employees and more than 80 brands around the world that drive more than $7.5 billion in annual revenues.