Hershey partners with cocoa suppliers to build health centers

by Eric Schroeder
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Hershey Learn to Grow program
Hershey's Learn to Grow training and cocoa sustainability program was created to improve the lives of cocoa farmers and communities in West Africa.

HERSHEY, PA. — The Hershey Co. has partnered with cocoa suppliers Blommer Chocolate and Olam Cocoa to fund and build a community health center in Cote d’Ivoire in the town of Teapleau on the Western side of the country. Cote d’Ivoire is one of the largest cocoa-producing countries in the world.

The new health center is part of the Hershey Learn to Grow training and cocoa sustainability program, which was created to improve the lives of cocoa farmers and communities in West Africa. The new health center now provides basic health services, such as maternity facilities; lab testing for AIDS and Malaria; and vaccinations for polio, tetanus and measles to 1,700 households and 13,000 people across three area communities.

Terry O'Day, Hershey
Terry O’Day, senior v.p. and chief supply chain officer for Hershey

“Our programs go beyond helping farmers learn how to grow quality, sustainable cocoa,” said Terry O’Day, senior vice-president, chief supply chain officer, Hershey. “We work with our partners to improve the well-being of all families through education and development projects that benefit everyone in the community.”

The health center project was coordinated with the Ivorian government, which will manage the staffing and long-term management of the facility.

With the center now open, the three companies have begun construction of a second health center. The second center will be located outside the city of Man in the village of Siambly. The facility is expected to provide access to health services to 3,000 families or approximately 24,000 people in six communities.

Separate from the health center construction projects, Hershey announced it has achieved its goal to source 50% of its global cocoa supply from certified and sustainable sources by the end of 2015, a full year ahead of its original schedule. The company now has set a new target of sourcing 75% of its global cocoa supply from certified and sustainable sources by the end of 2017, and committed to sourcing 100% certified and sustainable cocoa by 2020.

According to Hershey, reaching the milestone in 2015 means the company will be able to source enough certified and sustainable cocoa in 2016 to surpass the amount of cocoa required, on a mass balance basis, for the global production of four of its most popular chocolate brands: Hershey’s, Kisses, Kit Kat (United States only) and Brookside. In addition, Hershey has committed to adding the global Reese’s brand, the company’s largest brand, and others to these four brands in 2017.
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