The US chocolate maker also provided business skills training to 9,037 cocoa farmers globally, enrolled 54,000 of them in its “Learn to Grow” program to improve the quality and yields of their cocoa, and trained 7,571 famers to diversify their income during the same year, it said.
Hershey noted its certification programs use independent authorities, including the International Cocoa Initiative (ICI), to verify sustainable cocoa in its products.
“Our partnership with the ICI supports the child labor monitoring and remediation system (CLMRS), a program in cocoa-growing communities of Côte d’Ivoire,” said the company.
“Through Hershey’s Learn to Grow program, in conjunction with our suppliers, CMLRS programming was implemented in several Hershey-sponsored cocoa communities. The system will help Hershey and our partners identify and understand incidences and causes of child labor so that appropriate remediation activities can be undertaken,” it added.
In 2018, Hershey will extend its focus to local ecosystems by training farmers on how to avoid deforestation.
Investing in socially responsible brands
Hershey further invested in its “socially responsible” brands in 2017, including Dagoba, Chipits and ViVi.
Dagoba, for example, established “One for All Cacao” project in 2016 to have more women represented in the cocoa supply chain.
“[The project] spent 2017 working closely with the community of San Juan de Cheni in Peru, where 30% of its cocoa growers are women… now the community has a roadmap to advance women’s economic empowerment in the years to come,” said Hershey.
Moving forward, the project will form savings groups to improve financial literacy, business skills workshops and improve access to financing for local women entrepreneurs who seek to diversify their income for the community.
Jeff Beckman, Hershey’s spokesperson, noted, “our Chipits brand in Canada is another example of our brands forming partnerships that can make our communities better.”
“Our Canadian Chipits brand created a Chipits ‘Bake Bar’ to involve people in customizing their own cookies… For every bag of cookies our consumers took home, Hershey donated a meal to the Daily Bread Food Bank in Canada,” he said.
On the packaging side, Hershey said it is on track to achieve its 25 million pounds packaging reduction goal by 2025.
“Our goal is to have zero waste across Hershey. We’ve achieved zero waste to landfill at 13 sites and our plants consistently exceed an 85% recycling rate,” said Hershey.
However, “we still face challenges as a number of factors contributed to a 4.1% increase in our waste [in 2017],” it added.
“It can be hard to maintain our reduction [because] customers demand for more packaging this year. While the packaging itself is recyclable, it still has an impact on both our waste figures and our environmental impact.
“In 2018, we look forward to pursuing new waste-reduction initiatives,” said Hershey.