The company did not say what certification program it would use, but said cocoa will be verified through independent auditors to assure that it is grown in line with the highest internationally recognized standards for labor, environment and better farming practices.
As Hershey increases its use of certified cocoa, the company will also continue to support community-based programs with local African partners, national governments and development agencies. These projects include village school construction, mobile phone farmer messaging, literacy and health programs and training in modern farming techniques.
Currently, certified cocoa accounts for less than 5 percent of the world’s cocoa supply, according to Hershey. As the largest chocolate manufacturer in North America, Hershey says its 2020 purchasing commitment should significantly expand the global supply of certified cocoa, particularly from West Africa, which produces about 70 percent of the world’s cocoa.
Hershey announced in January that its Bliss chocolates will be Rainforest Alliance certified and available to consumers by year-end. Hershey’s Dagoba organic chocolate is currently 100 percent Rainforest Alliance certified.
Hershey has also announced that its Scharffen Berger brand will source 100 percent certified cocoa by the end of 2013.
Earlier this year, three of Hershey’s manufacturing facilities in Pennsylvania achieved Zero-Waste-to-Landfill (ZWL) status by eliminating waste, recycling and converting waste to energy. Two of the facilities are in Hershey, Pa., and the third is in Hazleton, Pa.
Hershey published its second corporate sustainability report this year, and set new sustainability goals including reducing its waste by a quarter, achieving a recycling rate of 85 percent, cutting water consumption by 10 percent and reducing its greenhouse gas emissions by 13 percent, all by 2015. All targets will be measured against a 2009 baseline.