Cocoa

At Hershey, we envision a world where cocoa farmers and their families live healthy, prosperous lives; where cocoa communities and ecosystems thrive for generations to come.

Cocoa For Good

In 2018, we launched our Cocoa For Good strategy—our approach to sustainable cocoa. We’re investing half a billion dollars by 2030 to nourish children, empower youth, build prosperous communities and preserve natural ecosystems.

In 2020, we committed to  expanding our direct sourcing strategy under the Cocoa For Good program. More details and annual progress updates on Cocoa For Good are in Hershey's annual sustainability reports.

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Family with Child

Through our holistic cocoa sustainability strategy, Cocoa for Good, we're nourishing children, empowering youth, helping communities prosper and preserving ecosystems.

Classroom of students

Our Cocoa For Good strategy is at the heart of our sustainable cocoa work. Driving social and economic benefits, with the help of our partners, helps eliminate child labor. Together, we're working to keep children in school and away from dangerous activities.  

Man walking through forest

Forests. Growing up, I had never really thought a lot about them. I like open spaces; beaches, the sea, mountains with far sights and clear skies. And I never hugged a tree as a child either. I did climb in them, but only for the sights I could see from a higher vantage point.

Cocoa Certification

As of January 2020, Hershey has achieved 100 percent certified and sustainable cocoa. Hershey sources cocoa through two of the world's most recognized cocoa certifying organizations: Fair Trade USA and Rainforest Alliance (UTZ) We also source cocoa from suppliers whose standards meet the International Organization for Standardization (ISO)/European Committww for Standardization (CEN) criteria.

While Hershey only sources certified cocoa, we label several of our products as “certified,” including, but not limited to, Brookside products (U.S. and Canada), Hershey Special Dark products (Brazil) and barkTHINS™ products (U.S.).

Cocoa Supply Chain Traceability

Traceability is a vital means to test if supply chains comply with our policies, standards and values. When we know where our beans have come from, we can assess how they have been grown and how the people who grew, harvested and processed them were treated. Over the past few years, we have been investing in improving the traceability of our cocoa supply chain and have committed to 100 percent direct sourcing of all cocoa from Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana by 2025.

Supporting Better Livelihoods for Cocoa Farmers

Cocoa farmers are challenged by limited access to credit, impeded negotiating power for farmers to set crop prices, singular reliance on cocoa for income, falling cocoa yields as cocoa trees age, lack of proper business and financial training, and gender imbalances. Our aim is to support cocoa farmers’ transition out of poverty, and we invest in developing multiple opportunities to increase income and build resilience.

In 2020, Hershey supported 89 certified farmer groups, reaching 83,783 farmers across seven origins through our suppliers; Brazil, Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Ecuador, Indonesia and Nigeria

Farmer groups are a way for farmers to enhance their negotiating power, which increases their earning potential and economic resilience. With our support, farmers groups have been able to get their cocoa certified in compliance with credible sustainability standards. This not only helped us reach our goal to source 100 percent certified and sustainable cocoa, it also ensures that the farmer groups and their farmers are paid a higher premium for their harvests.

  • At the group level, the certification premium is used to invest in shared equipment and capacity building like training on climate-smart cocoa techniques and income-diversification opportunities.
  • Farmers also receive direct cash payouts from the certification premium that enables them to reinvest in their farms and their families, including buying food, paying school fees and covering medical expenses. 

In 2020, through Cocoa For Good, we paid $5.9 million direct cash premiums to farmers across all origins

To find out more about our commitments to prosperity for cocoa farmers, read our position statement about Living Income. To learn more about our work with farmer groups, read our 2020 Sustainability Report.

Deforestation 

Hershey acts to protect forests and help restore forest cover in the cocoa-growing regions in West Africa. In 2018, Hershey publicly committed to no new deforestation in its cocoa supply chain, effective immediately, and to implementing agroforestry tree planting programs.

Hershey is a founding member of the Cocoa & Forests Initiative (CFI), launched in 2017 to focus on cocoa communities in Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana. CFI is a framework for industry, governments and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to work together to take action and protect the delicate ecosystems where cocoa is produced. Hershey’s CFI action plans will be delivered through its Cocoa For Good sustainable cocoa strategy, announced in April 2018. The plans focus on sensitive forest areas and are designed to inhibit encroachment on these protected areas by implementing locally tailored development programs.

Hershey has also recently committed to end deforestation across its supply chain by 2030 with a new companywide no deforestation policy

To learn more about the action plans and significant progress Hershey has made toward attaining key results with CFI, please visit:

Child Labor Monitoring and Remediation Systems

Hershey does not tolerate child labor within our supply chain, and we are working to eliminate it within cocoa communities. To find out more about the work we’re doing to support and protect children and families in cocoa-growing communities, please visit our Child Labor Monitoring and Remediation page.

Human Rights Due Diligence in Cocoa

The Hershey Company is committed to protecting and respecting human rights as outlined in our enterprise Human Rights Policy. In 2020, we took steps to significantly enhance and formalize our approach to human rights due diligence in cocoa—building on our existing commitment to 100 percent certified and sustainable cocoa, supply chain traceability and mapping, deforestation, and implementation of Child Labor Monitoring and Remediation System. Key steps in our due diligence process include:

  • Country of origin risk assessments: Annual review of origin risks drawing on publicly available information as well as our own sourcing data related to child labor, forced labor, deforestation and income vulnerabilities
  • Supplier sustainability assessments: An annual survey of our direct suppliers’ sustainability and responsible sourcing practices and management systems
  • Manufacturing site risk assessments: Ongoing requirement that all sites that provide cocoa and cocoa products to Hershey are required to have an up-to-date Sedex Self-Assessment Questionnaire and SMETA audit (or equivalent)
  • Farm-level risk assessments: Hershey has reached 100 percent certified cocoa which includes on-farm assessments and monitoring against credible standards (i.e., Rainforest Alliance and Fair Trade USA) through independent auditors
  • Child Labor Monitoring and Remediation Systems (CLMRS): By 2025, Hershey is committed to scaling CLMRS to 100 percent of our Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana cocoa sources to end child labor and to remediate all cases of child labor identified though the CLMRS
  • Grievance mechanisms: Through our commitment to certifications, like the Rainforest Alliance, Hershey supports operational-level grievance mechanisms at the cooperative level to express grievance on standards and on auditors. Hershey’s Supplier Code of Conduct also requires our suppliers to have grievance mechanisms that are tracked and verified through our Supplier Sustainability Assessment. Finally, the Hershey Company Concern Line is an anonymous and independently managed grievance mechanism available for individuals in our value chain

 

Support of Cocoa Due Diligence in the European Union and Elsewhere

The Hershey Company supports the European Union proposal that requires cocoa traders, importers and chocolate companies to conduct greater due diligence on their sources and labor conditions within their supply chains. We believe this would hold all members of the cocoa industry accountable for their supply chains.

While self-regulation has helped the cocoa-growing regions make important progress on these issues, we are aware these issues are so deeply embedded in cocoa-sourcing regions. The voluntary efforts of chocolate companies and cocoa importers that have led the way through farm-level sustainability programs, cocoa certification and remediation programs now only account for about 40 percent of the cocoa used in the world. This is why we believe more needs to be done.

We also would support a similar due diligence initiative in the United States, where our company is based.

Find out more about our due diligence work in cocoa in our 2020 Sustainability Report.

Our Goals & Progress

Our Goals & Progress