Forests are a critical part of the natural ecosystem and help mitigate climate risks, improve climate change resiliency, safeguards biodiversity and can provide livelihoods and economic opportunities for forest-based communities and Indigenous Peoples. However, deforestation, ecosystem conversion and encroachment linked to agricultural supply chains continue to be major global challenges with broad and far-reaching implications for generations to come. From cocoa to pulp and paper and palm oil, supply chains around the world are facing challenges stemming from complex root causes, including poverty, limited knowledge of sustainable farming practices and poor law enforcement.
Hershey commits to eliminating commodity-driven deforestation from our entire supply chain by 2030 while respecting and protecting the human rights of individuals. Guided by our No Deforestation Policy, we will work within our individual commodity supply chains to drive sustainable practices with our suppliers and within the industry to achieve this.
Through complementary policies, commitments and certification programs, we have crafted approaches relevant to specific raw materials that we source, including specific No Deforestation, No Peat, No Exploitation (NDPE) and traceability commitments for palm oil and pulp and paper.
We are also working with partners like Sourcemap, Earthworm Foundation and Airbus’s Starling satellite to accelerate monitoring and verification along supply chains to map and monitor forest areas around our cocoa and palm suppliers with plans to extend to pulp and paper and soy suppliers.
In our cocoa growing communities, deforestation is fueled by complex regional issues such as lack of access to land and land titling. We have developed several key partnerships, including with local governments, to address these unique challenges. We continue to source only 100 percent independently verified cocoa. Having achieved 88 percent sourcing visibility of cocoa volume in Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana, we are well on our way to achieving our goal of 100 percent visibility by 2025.
We have spent the past few years comprehensively mapping our cocoa growing farms in Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana to create a baseline deforestation rate, which allows us to better assess the current and ongoing deforestation rate by measuring annual tree cover loss and closely monitoring farm locations for encroachment into protected forest areas.
Without proper land titles, it is difficult for farmers to access financing or make necessary changes on their farms to prevent deforestation, promote reforestation and apply agroforestry and climate-smart cocoa farming techniques.
Through our partnership with the USAID Integrated Land and Resource Governance (ILRG) Project (2018–2021), we support communities in Ghana to clarify and document land rights as well as improve land-use planning practices through agroforestry. Additionally, our Côte d’Ivoire Land Partnership program (CLAP) has proven to be an effective means of promoting affordable land titling as a catalyst for halting deforestation. Through our intervention and design of relevant land tenure documents that are government sanctioned and community accepted, this partnership has shortened the time of delivery and costs of securing land titles, greatly improving farmers’ access.
As part of our commitment to preventing deforestation and restoring forests that bring numerous benefits to farmers and their families, we have launched a new partnership with the Office of Ivorian Parks and Reserves (OIPR). This partnership is backed by a $1 million investment from Hershey through 2025 to support OIPR’s efforts to protect the rich natural heritage in the newly designated Mabi-Yaya Nature Reserve.