Hershey raising bar on sustainability

by Monica Watrous
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Hershey has committed to producing four brands with sustainable cocoa in 2016, including Kit Kat, Hershey's chocolate bars and Kisses.

HERSHEY, PA. — The Hershey Co. said it will source more than enough certified, sustainable cocoa required to produce Hershey’s chocolate bars, Kisses, Kit Kat bars sold in the United States and Brookside products in 2016. The company plans to add the Reese’s brand to the list in 2017.

Hershey has accelerated its sustainable cocoa efforts and earlier this year set a new target to source at least half of its global cocoa supply from certified and sustainable farms by the end of 2015, a year ahead of schedule. The company has committed to sourcing 100% certified, sustainable cocoa by 2020.

“We are proud of our work to improve the lives of cocoa families, promote gender equality, and provide health and farm safety programs,” said Terry O’Day, senior vice-president and chief supply chain officer. “While sustainable, certified cocoa is just part of our responsible sourcing efforts, the fact that we will source enough for these major Hershey brands in the fourth year of our certified cocoa commitment demonstrates the urgency with which we have pursued this commitment.”

At the center of Hershey’s sustainable cocoa initiatives is the Hershey Learn to Grow farm training program in West Africa, where about two-thirds of the world’s cocoa is grown. Through the program, which has expanded in Ghana, Nigeria and Cote d’Ivoire during the past two years, farmers learn good agricultural, social, environmental and business practices. With local nonprofit partner Source Trust, Hershey has provided training for more than 5,000 Ghanaian farmers since starting Learn to Grow in 2012 and expects to train more than 60,000 West African coca farmers by 2019.
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