Hershey unveils plans to restore forest cover in cocoa growing regions of West Africa
Global chocolate manufacturer The Hershey Company has announced plans to protect forests and restore forest cover in the cocoa growing regions in West Africa. The company has released action plans that are part of its commitments as a founding member of the Cocoa & Forest Initiative (CFI).
In February 2018, Hershey publicly committed to no new deforestation in its cocoa supply chain, effective immediately, and to implementing agroforestry tree planting programs.
The new CFI forest protection plans for the two largest cocoa-producing countries in West Africa – Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire – step up Hershey’s forestry commitments with specific actions to end deforestation and to begin restoring forests.
Hershey’s CFI action plans will be delivered through its Cocoa For Good sustainable cocoa strategy, announced in April 2018. The plans focus on sensitive forest areas and are designed to inhibit encroachment on these protected areas by implementing locally tailored development programs.
“Cocoa, the key ingredient in chocolate, is beloved by people around the world,” said Beatrice Moulianitaki, Head of Sustainable Sourcing. “We want to ensure that this cherished product continues to be available for a growing number of consumers worldwide without damaging the forests close to where most of the world’s cocoa is grown. With the proper care and resources, we are confident that cocoa can continue to grow while protecting sensitive forests and habitats in the region.”
Hershey’s CFI action plans are organized under three strategic pillars forest Protection and Restoration, Sustainable Production and Farmers’ Livelihood and Community Engagement and Social Inclusion
Hershey has created specific goals, actions and timebound targets for both Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire under each of the three pillars. The three pillars are designed to work together to ensure a holistic approach to protecting forests while taking into consideration the human impact. This approach ensures that communities are fully engaged in these efforts and the actions benefit both the people and the surrounding ecosystem.
Plans include distributing 900,000 multi-purpose trees to farms in Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire by 2022, distributing more than 2.5 million improved cocoa seedlings to farmers in Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire by 2022 and satellite mapping of 50,000 farms across Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire in the Hershey supply chain by 2019
For the past several years under its Cocoa For Good program, Hershey has been implementing programs that meet the CFI commitments. The company’s agroforestry programs have already distributed more than 3.5 million cocoa trees and about 320,000 shade trees in West Africa between 2013 and 2017. Hershey will continue to review, expand and improve current programs to meet its CFI 2022 goals.