The largest chocolate producer in North America on track to source 100% certified cocoa by 2020
NEW YORK, NY, Friday, January 31st, 2014– Today members of the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility and investors in the Hershey Company were heartened by its announcement that, as of year-end 2013, 18% of its cocoa was certified sustainable.
Due in part to long-term shareholder engagement on this issue, the company had committed to ensuring that 10% of its cocoa supply would be certified by 2013 and investors are pleased that Hershey was able to surpass its original goal sending a clear signal of its commitment to ethical sourcing practices. Hershey has committed to sourcing 100% of its cocoa from certified sources by 2020.
Certified cocoa meets comprehensive sustainability standards meant to protect children, workers, communities and the environment. Hershey uses third-party certification systems to verify that its cocoa is grown sustainably and without the use of forced and child labor. The certifiers include UTZ Certified, Fair Trade USA and Rainforest Alliance Certified™.
ICCR members have been in dialogue with Hershey for over 5 years on the issue of child exploitation on the cocoa farms of West Africa. This milestone is part of the company’s 21st Century Cocoa Sustainability Strategy developed with input from ICCR members.
“The amount of measureable progress Hershey has made in the past year is encouraging, in terms of certified cocoa and in other initiatives meant to improve conditions in cocoa-farming communities,” said Chris Meyer of Everence Financial and Praxis Mutual Funds.“With a 43% share of the U.S. chocolate market, we view this milestone as a turning point certain to influence Hershey’s peers.”
ICCR members engage companies in high risk industries calling for increased scrutiny around ethical sourcing, labor practices and potential human rights abuses in supply chains in an effort to promote sustainable agricultural practices. Examples of campaigns include the ethical sourcing of cotton from Uzbekistan and the risks of trafficking and slavery in the sourcing of palm oil, soya and sugar.
Said Sr. Nora Nash of the Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia, “Shareholders are extremely encouraged that Hershey is on its way to achieving its goal of 100% certified cocoa by 2020. These commitments ensure the safety and well-being of thousands of children and must be upheld.”
Hershey also announced that its Scharffen Berger brand reached its goal to source 100 percent of its cocoa from certified farms by the end of 2013. According to the Hershey’s statement, All Scharffen Berger products now use cocoa that is 100 percent sourced from Rainforest Alliance Certified™ farms, joining both Hershey’s Bliss chocolates and Hershey’s Dagoba organic chocolate, which reached this milestone in 2012.
ICCR, Director of Communications
About the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility (ICCR)
For more than 40 years ICCR has been the pioneer coalition of active shareholders who view the management of their investments as a catalyst for change. Its 300 member organizations with
over $100 billion in AUM have an enduring record of corporate engagement that has demonstrated influence on policies promoting justice and sustainability in the world. www.iccr.org