Reflects the shared goals of Hershey and Côte d’Ivoire’s National Strategy for Sustainable Cocoa to improve childhood education and preserve ecosystems in cocoa-producing communities
HERSHEY, Pa., April 27, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — The Hershey Company (NYSE: HSY) today announced that it will be partnering with Côte d’Ivoire government agencies and non-governmental organizations through public-private partnerships to invest in the construction of ten primary schools in cocoa-growing communities and implement a focused program to preserve the Mabi-Yaya Nature Reserve. Purposefully aligned with the objectives of Côte d’Ivoire’s National Strategy for Sustainable Cocoa and Hershey’s new Income Accelerator, these investments reflect a shared commitment to ensuring a better and more sustainable cocoa supply chain for years to come.
“Access to education for children and environmental conservation are critical components of our broader Cocoa For Good strategy and vital to building healthy communities where cocoa farmers and their families live,” said Chuck Raup, President, U.S., The Hershey Company. “We are proud to take an active role in creating greater access to primary schooling and building the critical conservation programming needed to support healthy cocoa ecosystems and farmer income resilience.”
Working with the National Oversight Committee of Actions against child trafficking, exploitation and child labor (CNS), chaired by Côte d’Ivoire First Lady Dominique Ouattara, and the International Cocoa Initiative (ICI), Hershey will fund the construction of ten schools. As part of Hershey’s commitment to improve children’s well-being and prevent and eliminate child labor, these schools will create critical infrastructure to enable generations of children to succeed.
Further, Hershey will partner with the Foundation for the Parks and Reserves of Côte d’Ivoire to advance preservation efforts in the Mabi-Yaya Nature Reserve (RNMY), which was created in 2019 in the heart of the country’s southeastern cocoa producing area. Hershey’s investment will support conservation and management activities implemented by the Ivorian Office of Parks and Reserves (OIPR), including replanting nearly 1000 hectares of degraded lands, conducting a biodiversity census inside RNMY, strengthening existing ecological monitoring capabilities and engaging local communities for support. These efforts to restore RNMY’s natural integrity further Hershey’s broader commitment to mitigate the effects of climate change and deliver on its Cocoa & Forests Initiative (CFI) action plans.
The Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development of Côte d’Ivoire fully appreciates this partnership with Hershey which will strengthen its actions on the entire network of protected areas and contribute at the international level to the achievement of the Aïchi targets on the global importance of biological diversity.
“Collaboration between public and private actors remains the most effective option for ending child labor in cocoa production,” said Dominique Ouattara, First Lady of Côte d’Ivoire, President of the National Oversight Committee of Actions against child trafficking, exploitation and child labor.
Matthias Lange, Executive Director of ICI, a multistakeholder organization tackling child labor and forced labor in cocoa, added, “We are pleased to support this important collaboration to improve access to quality education. In line with national priorities, we know that improving access to quality schools is an important step in tackling child labor in cocoa-growing communities.”
These investments in education and conservation complement Hershey’s Income Accelerator announced today and collectively advance the objectives set in Côte d’Ivoire’s National Strategy for Sustainable Cocoa. All three initiatives work together to create a more sustainable cocoa supply chain and counteract the interrelated issues of farmer poverty, child labor and deforestation.
About The Hershey Company
The Hershey Company is headquartered in Hershey, Pa., and is an industry-leading snacks company known for bringing goodness to the world through its iconic brands, remarkable people and enduring commitment to help children succeed. Hershey has nearly 20,000 employees around the world who work every day to deliver delicious, quality products. The company has more than 100 brand names in approximately 80 countries around the world that drive $10.4 billion in annual revenues, including such iconic brand names as Hershey’s, Reese’s, Kit Kat®, Jolly Rancher and Ice Breakers, and fast-growing salty snacks including SkinnyPop, Pirate’s Booty and Dot’s Homestyle Pretzels.
For more than 125 years, Hershey has been committed to operating fairly, ethically and sustainably. Hershey founder, Milton Hershey, created the Milton Hershey School in 1909 and since then the company has focused on helping children succeed.
To learn more visit thehersheycompany.com.
With the mission to monitor and evaluate the actions of the Government and non-governmental actors in the fight against trafficking, exploitation and child labor, the CNS represents one of the key institutional actors of the national mechanism to fight against the worst forms of child labor in Côte d’Ivoire. The main missions of the CNS are to monitor and evaluate the actions of the government and national actors in the fight against child trafficking and the worst forms of child labor in Côte d’Ivoire.
About the Foundation for the Parks and Reserves of Côte d’Ivoire
The Foundation for the Parks and Reserves of Cote d’Ivoire is a non-profit organization that manages funds for programs to support conservation efforts in Cote d’Ivoire’s national parks and reserves.
ICI is a Swiss-based, non-profit foundation that works to ensure a better future for children in cocoa-growing communities. It is a multi-stakeholder partnership advancing the elimination of child labour and forced labour, by uniting the forces of the cocoa and chocolate industry, civil society, farming communities, governments, international organizations and donors.