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Supply Chain
Brands Continue Work to Build Traceable, Regenerative Ag Supply Chains

In the name of continued improvement for the benefit and sustainability of their respective industries and the agricultural communities that supply them, Timberland and Hershey unveil new measures to ensure ethical supply chains for leather and cocoa, respectively.

Timberland continues building regenerative leather supply chain for fashion industry

Image credit: Timberland

Today, Timberland announced a new partnership with the Savory Institute — a 501(c)(3) non-profit focused on the large-scale regeneration of the world’s grasslands.

This partnership builds on both organizations’ efforts to create regenerative supply chains for the fashion industry: The Savory Institute has already partnered with luxury fashion giant Kering to advocate regenerative sourcing solutions and expand the regenerative agriculture framework in fashion’s global supply chains; while Timberland has also teamed up with Other Half Processing — which partners with farmers, tribes, and ranchers such as Thousand Hills Lifetime Grazed to source hides and other high-quality byproducts from regenerative, organic and more sustainably raised animals. 

For Timberland, the new partnership also builds on parent company VF Corporation’s commitment to uphold rigorous standards for its leather sourcing, which it demonstrated by cutting ties with its suppliers in Brazil during last year’s devastating Amazon fires. Timberland says its goal is to build and connect a network of early-adopter regenerative ranches with its large-scale tannery partners to help build a regenerative supply chain for footwear and apparel.

“The regenerative movement has largely been focused on the food industry to date, but we at Savory Institute believe there is an opportunity to simultaneously synergize with the apparel industry and open up unparalleled successes for the planet,” said Chris Kerston, Chief Commercial Officer for the Land to Market program at Savory. “We are thrilled to be partnering with Timberland, a proven leader in this space, on their initiative to bring leather products raised on verified regenerative landscapes to the masses.”

As part of the partnership, Timberland will co-fund the Institute’s Ecological Outcome Verification process — which measures the tangible regenerative benefits occurring on the land, while also providing valuable data back to farmers to improve their practices — on all Thousand Hills Lifetime Grazed ranches.

This fall, Timberland will launch a collection of boots made using Regenerative Leather sourced from Thousand Hills Lifetime Grazed ranches, with plans to scale the program significantly over time.

Read more about the partnership and the benefits of regenerative grazing practices

Hershey commits to complete transparency in cocoa supply chain

Image credit: Rodrigo Flores/Unsplash

Meanwhile, The Hershey Company announced on Wednesday an expansion of its Cocoa for Good program — committing to 100 percent direct-sourced cocoa in high-risk areas by 2025, including all cocoa sourced by its suppliers from Cote d’Ivoire and Ghana.

A majority of the world’s cocoa comes from West Africa — a notorious hotspot for labor issues, due to poverty in the region. This expanded commitment aims to make Hershey’s cocoa from these countries traceable from the farm to the first point of purchase, giving the company a clear line of sight into where all of its West African cocoa is grown and how it is produced — providing more transparency for all stakeholders, including consumers.

In 2012, as part of its long-standing efforts to create more sustainable cocoa communities, Hershey committed to sourcing 100 percent certified and sustainable cocoa by 2020 — a goal it says it reached in January. A recent Mighty Earth ranking of chocolatiers found Hershey leading the industry in the areas of transparency/traceability and agroforestry, but still needing improvement when it comes to addressing deforestation, living incomes for farmers and child labor.

“By purchasing all our cocoa as certified and sustainable, we directly support higher incomes for farmers and improve labor and environmental standards,” said Jeff King, Senior Director of Global Sustainability and Social Impact. “We recognize, however that certification is not enough. Transitioning to 100 percent direct cocoa sourcing for these high-risk areas gives us more transparency into our cocoa supply chain and enables us to provide more support to farmers and scale-up programs such as Child Labor Monitoring and Remediation (CLMRS) to 100 percent of our Cote d’Ivoire- and Ghana-sourced cocoa by 2025 to help end child labor.”

Hershey is not alone in its efforts to ensure an ethical West African cocoa supply chain — especially as it pertains to maintaining standards in Cote d’Ivoire and Ghana, specifically: Fellow chocolate giants Barry Callebaut and Nestlé are also taking innovative measures to ensure ethical labor conditions and end deforestation, respectively, in the two countries.

Read more about Hershey’s expanded Cocoa For Good program