The chocolate company is taking a major step toward sustainability.
herhsey sourcing cocoa
Credit: fcafotodigital / Getty Images

Similar to other beloved food items like wine grapes and coffee beans, cocoa is being threatened by global warming. Some scientists have even predicted that the key ingredient in chocolate could go extinct as soon as 2050. But not only is cocoa being affected by climate change, it can also be a contributor, so The Hershey Company has recently made a commitment to help combat at least one of those factors: The confectionary giant said it’s putting a stop tonew deforestation in its global cocoa supply chain.

In an announcement made last week, Hershey stated that, effective immediately, it will no longer source cocoa from anywhere in the world where new deforestation has occurred. Concurrently, the company is also making a commitment to agroforestry, saying it plans to support shade-grown cocoa through tree planting programs. As a result, the chocolate brand hopes to help stop illegal deforestation especially in National Parks and Reserves as well as to help rejuvenate the areas already negatively impacted by farming activities.

“Deforestation in cocoa regions must end and every stakeholder in the cocoa supply chain needs to work together to protect the forests for future generations,” Susanna Zhu, Chief Procurement Officer at The Hershey Company, said in a statement. “We are committed to working with local governments and civil society to strike the right balance between producing cocoa for the world and conserving the precious natural ecosystem.”

To further support the initiative, Hershey also announced that it will be putting together “a comprehensive forestry plan” which will be made public by the end of 2018. It’s the latest step in a growing effort by the entire cocoa industry to change the way it does business. Last year, the World Cocoa Foundation—which is made up of other major confectionery brands including Mars, Mondelez, and Nestle—announced its Cocoa & Forests Initiative, promising that its members will help to protect and restore forests moving forward.