The Hershey Company announced on Tuesday that it will source enough certified and sustainable cocoa in 2016 to surpass the amount of cocoa required for the global production of four of its most popular chocolate brands: Hershey's, Kisses, Kit Kat and Brookside
The chocolate company also has pledged that it will source enough certified and sustainable cocoa to add the global Reese’s brand and others to these first four brands in 2017.
Reaching this responsible sourcing milestone was possible due to progress in sourcing cocoa from certified and sustainable cocoa farms, Hershey says.
Earlier this year, the company set a new target to source at least 50 percent of its global cocoa supply from certified and sustainable sources by the end of 2015, a full year ahead of its original schedule. Hershey has committed to source 100 percent certified and sustainable cocoa by 2020.
A key part of Hershey’s sustainable cocoa initiatives is its Learn to Grow farm training program in West Africa, where about two-thirds of the world’s cocoa is grown. During the past two years, Hershey has expanded Learn to Grow in Ghana, Nigeria and Cote d’Ivoire. Through the program, farmers receive training on good agricultural practices, appropriate social practices with a focus on labor, good environmental and business practices, and information about other food crops such as cassava and plantain.
Since launching Learn to Grow in 2012, Hershey and its local nonprofit partner, Source Trust, have provided training for more than 5,000 Ghanaian farmers. Hershey expects to register an additional 3,000 Learn to Grow farmers in Ghana in 2015, with a goal of supporting farm families by doubling cocoa yields per farm and increasing household income by 30 percent over five growing seasons. By 2019, Hershey expects to train more than 60,000 West African cocoa farmers through Learn to Grow, including 23,000 farmers in Ghana. About one-third of Learn to Grow farmers in Ghana and Nigeria are women.
Hershey’s sustainable cocoa programs fall in line with CocoaAction, the broader cocoa industry efforts to improve productivity and community livelihoods across the cocoa-growing sector in Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire. Hershey is a founding member of CocoaAction.