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Forests and other natural ecosystems are critical to help mitigate climate risks, improve climate change resiliency, and safeguard biodiversity and can provide livelihoods and economic opportunities for forest-based communities and Indigenous Peoples. However, deforestation, forest degradation, and natural ecosystem conversion remain major global challenges with broad and far-reaching implications for future generations to come. Along with encroachment into protected areas, they are a manifestation of a complex set of root causes that vary from location to location, including poverty, limited knowledge of sustainable farming practices and poor law enforcement.

Hershey is committed to achieving a deforestation and conversion-free supply chain for the cocoa, palm oil, pulp & paper (packaging), and direct soy we source by December 31, 2025, 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.

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. 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.

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, 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.

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. 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.

Mabi-Yaya Nature Reserve Forest Conservation Partnership

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.