In a letter addressed to the chocolate maker and leaked to the media, Cote d’Ivoire’s regulator Conseil du Cafe-Cacao (CCC) said it agreed to lift the suspension after Hershey promised to commit to the country’s Living Income Differential (LID), which adds an extra $400 a tonne to the price of cocoa to help fight farmer poverty.
Along with its counterpart in Ghana (Cocobod), the two cocoa regulators had recently suspended Hershey’s sustainability schemes, accusing it of sourcing large volumes of physical cocoa on the ICE futures exchange to avoid paying the LID.
It is not yet clear if Ghana’s Cocobod will also lift the ban on Hershey’s sustainability schemes in its country. It did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Hershey said it was fully participating in the LID and would continue to do so.
Companies including Mars Wrigley, Mondelez International, Barry Callebaut, Hershey’s and Nestlé have invested heavily in their own voluntary certification schemes in West Africa as a response to pressure from consumers for ethically sourced chocolate.
Cote d’Ivoire and Ghana, which account for approximately 70% of the world’s supply, have threatened to name and shame chocolate companies caught trying to buy ‘cheaper beans’ on the futures market to avoid paying a premium aimed at boosting farmers’ incomes.