When you think of Hershey’s what’s the first thing that comes to mind? Chances are you are thinking about those delicious chocolate kisses the company is known for. Well the company that started as a small candy shop in Philadelphia is now big business, big chocolate business. Heresy makes around 7.5 billion dollars in revenue annually. All this is achieved through the farming of cocoa beans, or in other words chocolate. Producing sustainable chocolate is becoming a key concern for the Pennsylvania based company, as it looks to the future.
The Heresy Company has announced a 500 million dollar strategy to supports sustainable and environmentally conscious initiatives within its cocoa manufacturing operations. They are calling the campaign “Cocoa For Good.” Through this initiative Hershey’s overarching mission is to make key investments into the communities that produce cocoa beans.
The top producers for cocoa are located on the Ivory Coast in Western Africa. Most of these producers are small farmers. Many of these farmers still use traditional growing methods.
The key objectives for this Cocoa For Good Strategy are to:
- Increased family access to good nutrition.
- Elimination of child labor and increased youth access to education opportunities.
- Increased household incomes for women and men.
- Zero deforestation and increased agroforestry.
This plan by Hershey’s comes at a time when several consumer-focused companies like Unilever & McDonald’s have invested more in sustainable sourcing. A growing demographic of customers becoming environmentally conscious and are seeking companies that share the same values to spend their money with.
Other supply chain related factors might also be at play here with Heresy’s new food focus on sustainability.
According to sources from Bloomberg, Cocoa prices face high degree of volatility over potential supply shortages this year. Reports say, “global yields have stayed stagnant, supply increases have come primarily through expansion of cultivated areas.”
Ivory Coast lost 64 percent of its forest cover from 1990 to 2015 largely because of cocoa farming, according to the IDH.
This new approach by the chocolate company will hopefully turn out to be a multi-pronged plan that seeks to support cocoa farming communities while marketing Hershey’s renewed focus on sustainable values.