The Hershey Company has committed to 100% direct-sourced cocoa in high-ask areas by 2025, as part of an expansion to its sustainable cocoa programme.  

Hershey’s new commitment will include all of its cocoa sourced by its suppliers from Cote d’Ivoire and Ghana and will make it traceable from the farm to the first point of purchase.

This will provide more transparency for both consumers and stakeholders and will support the company in creating a sustainable cocoa supply chain, overcoming the challenges of how cocoa is bought and sold.

Hershey’s Cocoa for Good programme was established in 2018 in which the company announced it would invest up to $500 million by 2030 to help address issues such as poverty, vulnerable ecosystems and poor nutrition among its cocoa farming communities.

The programme furthered the company’s previous cocoa efforts that were announced in 2012, in which it committed to sourcing 100% certified and sustainable cocoa by 2020. This goal was achieved in January 2020.

“By purchasing all our cocoa as certified and sustainable, we directly support higher incomes for farmers and improve labour and environmental standards,” said Jeff King, senior director of global sustainability and social impact for The Hershey Company.

He added: “We recognise, however that certification is not enough. Transitioning to 100% 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 programmes such as Child Labour Monitoring and Remediation (CLMRS) to 100% of our Cote d’Ivoire and Ghana-sourced cocoa by 2025 to help end child labour.”

Hershey’s expanded Cocoa for Good programme doubles down on its four key areas of nourishing children, empowering youth, prospering communities and preserving ecosystems. 

As part of its extended commitment, Hershey intends to invest in farmer training to enable growing more cocoa on less land and boosting productivity. In another effort to raise farmers incomes, the US company is paying the Ivorian and Ghanaian Living Income Differential (LID).

To continue to work towards elimination of child labour, Hershey is expanding its CLMRS to assess more than 125,000 children, representing a 350% increase since 2018.

Hershey also plans to expand the ViVi school feeding programme by opening a second nutritional supplement factory in Cote d’Ivoire, as well as increase the coverage of its satellite monitoring systems and mapping 100% of the West African cocoa farms in its supply chain to strengthen its zero-deforestation commitment.