Let's keep this going
Sign up today to receive our daily news briefs featuring a handful of the most important stories in business, tech, and life. Weekdays at 9am Pacific

EMAILED ON April 5, 2018 BY Wes Schlagenhauf

Hershey wants to clean up the chocolate trade

About 95% of global cocoa output is produced by small farmers — 70% of whom come from West Africa. It’s a precious natural resource for the entire region, and a tremendous part of personal livelihoods.

But make no mistake, from slavery and child trafficking to dire environmental implications like mass deforestation, there’s a very dark side to the chocolate trade — and there’s no milky, creamy center.

But Hershey Co. is spending $500m to try to change that. Through 2030, their Cocoa for Good program will invest in the elimination of child labor, and the increase of shade-grown cocoa, which can be productive for 15 years longer than sun-grown plants. 

The initiative comes after a rough year for producers

World cocoa supplies dwindled from their normal surplus recently following a price hit that limited global farm production and sent fudge ripples through the market.

But at the same time chocolate demand continues to grow. Global retail sales reached $102B in 2017 and are expected to climb 8.2% by 2022.

Which means Hershey better get to work

The program will prioritize Ghanaian growers to meet short-term supply needs before moving to the Ivory Coast (the No. 1 cocoa grower). 

Hershey increased purchasing of certified sustainable cocoa to 75% of total cocoa buying last year and hopes to reach 100% by 2020.

Get news (like this) delivered by email every morning