Hershey Announces Plans to Reinforce Cocoa Sustainability in West Africa

FBR Staff Writer Published 31 January 2012

The Hershey Company, the US-based chocolate manufacturer, plans to invest $10m over the next five years in West Africa, in programs to lower child labor and improve farming communities, as a part of its plan to reinforce cocoa sustainability efforts.

The company plans to work with experts in agriculture, community development and government, and by 2017, Hershey’s public and private partnerships are expected to directly benefit 750,000 African cocoa farmers and over two million people in cocoa communities across the region.

The Hershey Company president and CEO JP Bilbrey said the company is extending its commitment with new programs to drive long-term change in cocoa villages where families will benefit from the company’s investments in education, health and economic opportunities.

“Our global consumers want The Hershey Company to be a leader in responsible business practices and in finding smart ways to benefit cocoa communities,” Bilbrey added.

Hershey plans to partner with Rainforest Alliance, a non-governmental organization (NGO), to train cocoa farmers to help them address global climate change and adapt to its impacts.

Later this year, the company will launch Hershey’s Bliss products with 100% cocoa from Rainforest Alliance Certified farms – the farms which have met comprehensive sustainability standards that protect the environment and ensure the well-being of workers, their families and communities.

Hershey said that it is working with the Rainforest Alliance to source cocoa from certified farms in Latin America and Africa for Hershey’s premium brand Dagoba.

The company plans to increase the presence of CocoaLink mobile phone project to Ivory Coast, which has approximately 600,000 cocoa farmers, with about half are already using mobile phones.… Read the rest

Protest Targets Candy Maker

A coalition accuses The Hershey Co. of refusing to commit to buying cocoa produced without child or forced labor

Staff Writer

At the height of the Halloween candy-buying season, The Hershey Co. is being accused by a coalition of environmental and human-rights groups of refusing to commit to buying cocoa produced without child labor or forced labor.

Hershey is vigorously defending its cocoa-purchasing practices.

According to, more than 30,000 consumers have signed an online petition protesting Hershey’s policies.

“A decade ago, Hershey signed an agreement to help fight child slavery and other abuses in the cocoa industry,” Elizabeth O’Connell, a member of the Raise the Bar, Hershey! Coalition, said in a news release. “Yet it has done far less than other chocolate companies to address these abuses.” Read more