The Hershey Company has made a commitment to no new deforestation in its global cocoa supply chain, effective immediately.
It said that this pledge is aimed at stopping ongoing deforestation and protecting forests in the cocoa-growing regions where the company sources its cocoa.
Hershey’s claims its commitments will help protect forests in two ways: by helping to stop the illegal deforestation that has been occurring for decades, especially in national parks and reserves; and by helping to rejuvenate forests impacted by farming activities.
Following the announcement, Hershey will develop a forestry plan in 2018 to outline its agroforestry programmes, tree-planting goals, supplier guidelines and monitoring, and timelines to achieve its forest protection and reforestation goals. The plan will be completed and publicly shared before the end of 2018.
The Hershey Company chief procurement officer Susanna Zhu said: “Deforestation in cocoa regions must end and every stakeholder in the cocoa supply chain needs to work together to protect the forests for future generations.
“We are committed to working with local governments and civil society to strike the right balance between producing cocoa for the world and conserving the precious natural ecosystem.”
Hershey said it is committed to sustainable cocoa production through its own forest initiatives and its work with the World Cocoa Foundation and its Cocoa & Forests Initiative.
Research published last year by Euromonitor revealed that without investment in sustainable production, the future of the global cocoa industry is uncertain.
In its full-year results published yesterday, Hershey saw its net sales rise by 1% in 2017 to $7.51 billion thanks to a strong performance of its core chocolate brands as Reese’s and Kisses.
© FoodBev Media Ltd 2020