Hershey Makes Good on Commitment to Certify Its Bliss Brand Chocolates

The Hershey Company has announced that its Rainforest Alliance-certified Bliss brand chocolates are now available at more than 35,000 retail outlets across the United States. Working with the Rainforest Alliance, the company has succeeded in ensuring that 100 percent of the cocoa used to make Bliss chocolates has been produced ethically.

Hershey's achievement makes good on the company's January commitment to make all of its Bliss chocolates from Rainforest Alliance certified cocoa. Achieving certification from the Rainforest Alliance requires meeting comprehensive standards that ensure cocoa is sourced from farms that protect the environment as well as the safety and well-being of workers.

"Now consumers can enjoy the smooth taste of Hershey's Bliss chocolates and know that they are helping to protect the environment and supporting safe and healthy conditions for family cocoa farmers," said Kristin Harper, Director for Hershey's Kisses and Bliss Brands. "We listened to consumers and responded by giving them an easy and delicious way to enjoy 100 percent certified chocolate."

Like all major chocolate companies, Hershey has faced challenges in its West African supply chain. The company sources its West African cocoa from thousands of small farms spread across the region, making comprehensive monitoring of its supply chain a complex business.

Hershey has worked aggressively to ensure that its West African supply chain meets high standards of ethics. The introduction of the certified Bliss chocolates follows a series of announcements during the past 12 months that highlight the company's increasing dedication to corporate social responsibility.

Earlier this year, Hershey committed to sourcing 100 percent certified cocoa for all of its brands and products by 2020. Its Dagoba brand is already certified by the Rainforest Alliance, and the company has pledged to certify 100 percent of its Scharffen Berger chocolates by the end of 2013.

"Expanding the use of certified cocoa across our iconic chocolate brands while working with public and private partners, demonstrates Hershey's responsible sourcing practices," said J.P. Bilbrey, Hershey's president and chief executive officer. "I am confident that we can make a substantial difference in West Africa by 2020."

In an effort to mitigate its impact on climate change, Hershey has also been working to reduce carbon emissions at its facilities in the United States. This week, the company augmented its corporate fleet with four new zero-emission Nissan LEAF cars that will be available to any Hershey employee for business use in the Hershey, Pa. area.

"Adding these innovative vehicles to our fleet reinforces Hershey's commitment to finding new and innovative ways to minimize our environmental impact while making our sustainability efforts tangible for our employees," said Terry O'Day, Hershey's senior vice president of global operations. "Every one of our employees will feel good knowing that when they drive these zero-emission cars they are actively reducing Hershey's carbon footprint and helping Hershey achieve its 2015 environmental goals."

To ensure the cars remain operational, Hershey has also installed seven electric vehicle charging stations at four locations in Hershey, Pa. The project is part of Hershey's energy efficiency and reduction efforts that resulted in the company reducing its CO2 emissions by 1,317 tonnes in 2011.

Cutting carbon has also been a pragmatic business decision for Hershey. As a result of its emissions initiatives, the company realized bottom-line savings of $21.3 million in 2011.

Image credit: Daniel Oines, Flickr