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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)

Hershey has already committed to source cocoa through three of the world’s most recognized cocoa certifying organizations: UTZ, Fairtrade USA and Rainforest Alliance. As Hershey’s buying volume increases, the company will be working with other well-established certification organizations to expand their capacity to certify more cocoa farmers globally.

2020 Certified Cocoa Milestones

In the five months since announcing its 100 percent third-party certified cocoa commitment, Hershey has made substantial progress towards its 2020 goals. The company is on track to source at least 10 percent of its total global cocoa purchases from certified sources in 2013, the first year of its 2020 commitment. Hershey also announced benchmarks for reaching 100 percent by 2020. The company has committed to scaling its certified cocoa purchases at the following rate:

  • At least 10 percent by the end of 2013
  • 40 to 50 percent by the end of 2016
  • 100 percent by 2020

The company will continue to provide updates on its certified cocoa progress throughout the next seven years as part of its ongoing CSR reporting.

Accelerating CocoaLink

The Hershey 21 St Century Cocoa Plan also includes accelerating and expanding its innovative and successful CocoaLink mobile phone program, which the company launched in 2011 in Ghana with the Ghana Cocoa Board and the World Cocoa Foundation. In 2013, the program will expand into Cote d’Ivoire, a major cocoa-producing country.

CocoaLink is a first-of-its kind program that uses mobile technology to deliver practical agricultural and social training to rural cocoa farmers at no cost. Today, more than nine in 10 Ghanaian cocoa farmers have access to a mobile phone. Since launching in Ghana in July 2011, CocoaLink has:

  • Registered more than 16,000 cocoa farmers – about 35 percent of whom are women – in 550 communities across Ghana’s cocoa growing sector,
  • Provided 300,000 SMS messages in the local language on topics that include pruning, planting, fertilizer application, spraying, children’s issues and insect control, and
  • Addressed high illiteracy levels through community literacy training.

Hershey Development Center Enhances Cocoa Traceability and Certification

The HERSHEY LEARN TO GROW farmer and family development center, launched in 2012 in Assin Fosu in Ghana’s central cocoa region, will now play an important role in Hershey’s overall sustainable cocoa plans. The center, created in partnership with Source Trust, a non-profit organization set up to help farmers improve their livelihoods through better crop yields and quality, will provide Hershey with verified cocoa that can be traced back to the individual farm level.

HERSHEY LEARN TO GROW and 25 participating community-based farmer organizations help improve the living standards of 1,250 cocoa farm families through good agricultural, environmental, social and business practices training; access to improved planting material; and finance for farm inputs with the goal to double productivity yield and farm income over four years. More than 50 percent of farm family income in this region comes from cocoa. More than 6,000 community members will be impacted by the program.

The HERSHEY LEARN TO GROW farmer and family development center has also brought high-tech learning to the rural farm village. Last year, Hershey launched a distance learning program that allows approximately 80 middle school students in classrooms on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean to connect through real-time, high-definition technology that creates a common, virtual classroom experience. Students in Assin Fosu connect to students from the Milton Hershey School in Hershey, Pa., to share learning and cultural experiences.

The technology is also used to train local cocoa farmers on good agricultural, environmental and social practices and to benefit the wider community.

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