HERSHEY, PA. – They Hershey Co. plans to invest $500 million through 2030 in Cocoa For Good, its cocoa sustainability strategy. The program will focus on West Africa, where about 70% of the world’s cocoa is grown, and will address poverty, poor nutrition, at-risk youth and vulnerable ecosystems.
Cocoa For Good will seek to increase family access to good nutrition, thereby reducing anemia rates. The program will seek to eliminate child labor and increase youth access to education opportunities.
The Hershey Co. also will invest in programs to economically empower women and help all farmers support their businesses. The program will work to protect forests and climates, and it will invest in agroforestry methods and growing cocoa in shaded areas that are more productive.
“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 for Hershey. “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.”
Owusu Prempeh has been a cocoa farmer in Ghana for five years and has received training and support from Hershey to increase cocoa yields.
“I have sold cocoa to many companies, but I have not benefitted from them like I have with Hershey,” Ms. Prempeh said. “The trainings have increased productivity on my farm, especially with the extensive pruning of my cocoa trees. 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.”