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Hershey Announced Its "21st Century Cocoa Plan," A Roadmap For How The Company Will Work To Help Cocoa Communities Around The World Grow Sustainable Cocoa For The Next Century. (Graphic: The Hershey Company)

During the past half-century, The Hershey Company (NYSE: HSY) has helped family cocoa farmers and communities develop more productive agriculture practices, build educational and community resources, and improve labor practices. The company is now expanding these initiatives to modernize cocoa farming to increase farmer incomes, attract new farmers and improve cocoa growing communities.

Today, Hershey announces its “21 St Century Cocoa Plan,” a roadmap for how the company will work to help cocoa communities around the world grow sustainable cocoa for the next century. Hershey will combine its responsible sourcing practices to expand the supply of sustainable cocoa while investing in community programs that improve education and the livelihoods of cocoa-growing families around the world.

“Cocoa is at the heart of our business and we care deeply that this key ingredient is grown in a safe, healthy and sustainable manner,” said John P. Bilbrey, President and Chief Executive Officer, The Hershey Company. “Through our Hershey 21 St Century Cocoa Plan, we are taking meaningful and measurable steps and making a positive difference in the health and well-being of cocoa communities.

“This is a watershed moment for our industry to work together with cocoa growing nations to increase opportunities for farmers through better training, financing and community development. The complexity of the challenges requires us to work together with a focused plan.”

100% Certified Sustainable Cocoa

A cornerstone of Hershey’s 21 St Century Cocoa Plan is its commitment to source 100 percent third-party certified cocoa for all of its chocolate products worldwide by 2020.

Certified cocoa is verified by independent auditors who assess against established standards for labor, environmental and sustainable farming practices. With about five percent of the world’s cocoa supply certified at the end of 2012 and the need for certified cocoa growing, Hershey believes its 2020 commitment – announced last October – is already helping expand the global supply of certified cocoa.

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