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 a No Deforestation, No Peat, No Exploitation (NDPE) commitment for palm oil and full traceability for pulp and paper and palm oil.

We are also working with partners like Sourcemap and Earthworm Foundation to accelerate monitoring and verification along supply chains  to map and monitor forest areas around our cocoa and palm suppliers.

Read more about this commodity-specific approach to ending deforestation.

Deforestation in Cocoa

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

Farm Locations and Deforestation

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 through measuring annual tree cover loss and to closely monitor farm locations for encroachment into protected forest areas.

142,789 hectares were polygon mapped in Cote d'Ivoire and Ghana in 2020—an area greater than 356,000 football fields


With our partner Sourcemap we are using a geospatial satellite monitoring tool and cross-validating data with our suppliers’ systems, national forest laws, Rainforest Alliance and CFI. In 2020, 1,628 farmers were located in protected areas.

  • 577 farmers were permitted by the government to continue farming in compliance with approved guidelines.
  • 583 farmers were removed from the Hershey direct sourcing supply chain.2
  • 8 farmers still have decisions pending. 

1 Polygon maps are digital maps that provide spatial geographic information depicting closed areas.

2 When farms are found to be located in protected areas, verification takes place and local authorities are informed. When national laws do not permit a farm’s location, the farmers are removed from our direct supply chain and can no longer sell cocoa beans via our certified farmer groups and suppliers. Sometimes, certain farm locations in protected areas are allowed.

Securing Land Titles to Unlock Land Value

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.  

622 farmers have obtained land title documentation and 749 certificates registering ownership of shade trees were issued to farmers in 2020 Through our engagement with ILRG and our supplier ECOM in 2020.

Continuing Our Landscape Programs

We continued our Kakum Agroforestry Landscape Program partnership in Ghana, which covers an area equivalent to twenty times the size of Manhattan. This partnership promotes and supports community-led landscape management, spreads climate smart cocoa-growing practices and provides training for extra income-generating activities.

Find out about our other landscape programs in our 2020 Sustainability Report.