Chocolate Gets Sweeter With CSR in the Mix
Over the last few years, awareness of the issues related to cocoa production has grown substantially. Cocoa, the raw material for chocolate, is one of the world’s most popular food types—especially for children. In a sad irony, it became clear that some cocoa farms were using child labor in their operations, and on many, small farmers were not getting a fair deal for their product.
In the face of these growing concerns, several major cocoa buyers have made commitments to improve ethics in their supply chain. The results are starting to show up. The Hershey Company has beaten its own 2013 goal of sourcing 10 percent of its cocoa from certified farms. In fact, the company sourced 18 percent of its cocoa supply from those farms and is on track to a 100 percent certified supply by 2020.
Hershey has also announced that its Scharffen Berger brand has reached its previously stated goal to source 100 percent of cocoa from certified farms by the end of 2013. All Scharffen Berger products now use cocoa that is 100 percent sourced from Rainforest Alliance Certified farm. It is the third product line to do so, following in the footsteps of Hershey’s Bliss chocolates and Hershey’s Dagoba organic chocolate, which went 100 percent certified in 2012.
Certified cocoa is verified by independent auditors according to recognized international standards for labor, environmental and sustainable farming practices. Hershey uses UTZ Certified, Fair Trade USA and Rainforest Alliance Certified, which are three of the world’s largest and most recognized cocoa certifications.
In order to make its transition to a fully certified cocoa supply, Hershey created its 21st Century Cocoa Sustainability Strategy. The company’s aim is to modernize cocoa farming for the two million farmers across West Africa with a particular focus on education. The company is also a founding member of the World Cocoa Foundation and, as such, its cocoa strategy is part of broader, industry-wide effort to improve the lives of cocoa-growing communities across the globe.
Since its inception, the World Cocoa Foundation has reached more than half a million farmers, and trained more than 100,000 of them though an educational program called WCF Cocoa Livelihoods. Currently, more than 90 companies support this initiative.
Image credit: Hershey