Hershey Expands ‘Learn to Grow’ Program to Belize Sugar Industry and Launches New Sustainable Sugar Sourcing Policy

  • Learn to Grow sustainable farming program expands to sugar industry through partnership with the Sugar Industry Research and Development Institute
  • Training to improve livelihood for 660 farmers in sugar communities in 2016 and 2017
  • New Sustainable Sugar Sourcing Policy targets 100 percent of sugar purchases to come from responsible and sustainable sources by 2020

HERSHEY, Pa.--()--The Hershey Company (NYSE: HSY) announced today a new partnership with the Sugar Industry Research and Development Institute (SIRDI) to expand its Hershey Learn to Grow sustainable farming program to sugar suppliers in northern Belize.

The program will train farmers in sustainable agriculture practices to responsibly grow and harvest sugar cane. The new program builds on The Hershey Company’s leadership in ensuring the raw materials used for its iconic brands are procured from sustainable sources where the entire community benefits from the business.

“We’ve seen great success from our Learn to Grow program in the cocoa sector and now have the opportunity to make a positive difference in the sugar industry,” said Eric Boyle, Director of Responsible Sourcing and Procurement at the Hershey Company. “The combination of our new Sustainable Sugar Sourcing Policy and the new farmer training program will give consumers the assurance that the sugar in our products is responsibly and sustainably grown and harvested.”

The SIRDI Farmer Field School, funded by Hershey, is an expansion of the highly recognized Hershey Learn to Grow program, initiated four years ago to give West African cocoa farmers the opportunity to improve productivity, raise incomes and benefit the entire community.

The Hershey Company’s work to enhance the livelihoods of farmers within our supply chain links to the company’s heritage of sharing goodness.

Commitment to Responsible and Sustainable Sugar Sourcing

The Hershey Company also announced today the implementation of a new Sustainable Sugar Sourcing Policy. The policy establishes rigorous standards to ensure sugar has been responsibly grown and harvested.

By 2020, The Hershey Company will procure 100 percent of sugar purchases from responsible and sustainable sources. The company is committed to working with suppliers that not only share the same values, but are committed to action plans to adhere to the company’s Sugar Sourcing Policy.

For U.S. sourced sugar:

  • All suppliers will be required to complete independent social audits of their refineries and other facilities to the Sedex Members Ethical Trade Audit (SMETA) standard by 2020. Suppliers will be required to address any and all non-compliances with this standard in a prompt manner and submit corrective actions for our review.
  • We will conduct annual reviews of our sugar suppliers’ sustainability programs to assess the environmental impact of sugarcrop farming. The results of this ongoing exercise will factor into our sourcing decisions as we seek to drive sustainability throughout our supply chain.

For international sugar:

  • We will work with our suppliers to incorporate third party evaluations within their supply chains against Hershey’s Supplier Code of Conduct and industry best practices on sustainability initiatives.
  • In addition, Hershey will implement Hershey’s Learn to Grow program within our sugar supply chain, starting in Belize, to train sugar farmers on productivity and community development enhancements.

About The Hershey Company

The Hershey Company, headquartered in Hershey, Pa., is a global confectionery leader known for bringing goodness to the world through its chocolate, sweets, mints and other great-tasting snacks. Hershey has approximately 21,000 employees around the world who work every day to deliver delicious, quality products. The company has more than 80 brands around the world that drive more than $7.4 billion in annual revenues, including such iconic brand names as Hershey's, Reese's, Hershey's Kisses, Jolly Rancher, Ice Breakers and Brookside. Building on its core business, Hershey is expanding its portfolio to include a broader range of delicious snacks. The company remains focused on growing its presence in key international markets while continuing to extend its competitive advantage in North America.

At Hershey, goodness has always been about more than delicious products. For more than 120 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 giving underserved children the skills and support they need to be successful. Today, the company continues this social purpose through 'Nourishing Minds,' a global initiative that provides basic nutrition to help children learn and grow. From neighborhoods across the United States to the streets of Shanghai and Mumbai and villages of West Africa, our goal is to nourish one million minds by 2020.

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About The Sugar Industry Research and Development Institute

The Sugar Industry Research and Development Institute (SIRDI) in Belize is an organization established by the Sugar Industry ACT of 2001. The Institute is administered by a “Board of Directors” composed of members appointed by the Minister. The mandate of the SIRDI is well defined in the objectives of the institute under the Sugar Act (2001) and includes the following: research, develop and adopt technological innovations and production options for the benefit of the industry. Establish norms and standards and provide technical services to the Sugarcane Production Committee (SCPC) for determining sugarcane quality. SIRDI and the SCPC both fall under the umbrella of the Sugar Industry Control Board (SICB).

Contacts

The Hershey Company
Denise Ward, 717-374-4013

Contacts

The Hershey Company
Denise Ward, 717-374-4013