Good news for chocolate lovers with a code of ethics. The Hershey Company announced earlier this week that 100 percent of its cocoa will be coming to your favorite Hershey's chocolate products from certified sustainable sources by 2020.
Hershey's commitment comes in the same week as Whole Foods Market announcement that it would be removing the popular Hershey subsidiary brand, Scharffen Berger from its shelves. The decision came in response to more than 15,000 customers petitioning the retailer to drop Scharffen Berger due to the brand's failure to guarantee its cacao products are procured without child slave labor.
Earlier this year, Hershey's announced it would begin using cocoa that has been certified by the Rainforest Alliance for specialty brands Bliss and Dagoba. And in January the company announced it would be investing $10 million over a 5-year period in African communities for the development of social and economic programs.
The news came as Fair Trade Month officially kicked off with a statement from Hershey President and CEO John P. Bilbrey: “Consistent with Hershey’s values, we are directly addressing the economic and social issues that impact West Africa’s two million cocoa farmers and families,” adding that the cacao will be certified through independent auditors to ensure the highest standards are employed for fairness in labor and observing environmental and best farming practices. “Expanding the use of certified cocoa across our iconic chocolate brands while working with public and private partners demonstrates Hershey’s responsible sourcing practices. I am confident that we can make a substantial difference in West Africa by 2020.”
Additional investments in community-based programs aimed at improving the lives of West Africans—where most of the world's cacao comes from—is of equal importance to Hershey's as the sustainability of the cacao. Projects will include building schools, supporting literacy and health programs as well as training in new farming techniques for villages working with Hershey's.
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