Hershey ‘21St Century Cocoa Plan’ Outlines Commitment to Sustainable Cocoa and Improving Cocoa Communities

  Hershey ‘21St Century Cocoa Plan’ Outlines Commitment to Sustainable Cocoa
  and Improving Cocoa Communities

     Hershey Announces Milestones to Achieve 100% Certified Cocoa by 2020

   ‘A Watershed Moment for Our Industry to Work Together With Cocoa Growing
                Nations to Increase Opportunities for Farmers’

Business Wire

HERSHEY, Pa. -- March 21, 2013

During the past half-century, The Hershey Company (NYSE: HSY) has helped
family cocoa farmers and communities develop more productive agriculture
practices, build educational and community resources, and improve labor
practices. The company is now expanding these initiatives to modernize cocoa
farming to increase farmer incomes, attract new farmers and improve cocoa
growing communities.

Today, Hershey announces its “21^St Century Cocoa Plan,” a roadmap for how the
company will work to help cocoa communities around the world grow sustainable
cocoa for the next century. Hershey will combine its responsible sourcing
practices to expand the supply of sustainable cocoa while investing in
community programs that improve education and the livelihoods of cocoa-growing
families around the world.

“Cocoa is at the heart of our business and we care deeply that this key
ingredient is grown in a safe, healthy and sustainable manner,” said John P.
Bilbrey, President and Chief Executive Officer, The Hershey Company. “Through
our Hershey 21^St Century Cocoa Plan, we are taking meaningful and measurable
steps and making a positive difference in the health and well-being of cocoa
communities.

“This is a watershed moment for our industry to work together with cocoa
growing nations to increase opportunities for farmers through better training,
financing and community development. The complexity of the challenges requires
us to work together with a focused plan.”

100% Certified Sustainable Cocoa

A cornerstone of Hershey’s 21^St Century Cocoa Plan is its commitment to
source 100 percent third-party certified cocoa for all of its chocolate 
products worldwide by 2020.

Certified cocoa is verified by independent auditors who assess against
established standards for labor, environmental and sustainable farming
practices. With about five percent of the world’s cocoa supply certified at
the end of 2012 and the need for certified cocoa growing, Hershey believes its
2020 commitment – announced last October – is already helping expand the
global supply of certified cocoa.

Hershey has already committed to source cocoa through three of the world’s
most recognized cocoa certifying organizations: UTZ, Fairtrade USA and
Rainforest Alliance. As Hershey’s buying volume increases, the company will be
working with other well-established certification organizations to expand
their capacity to certify more cocoa farmers globally.

2020 Certified Cocoa Milestones

In the five months since announcing its 100 percent third-party certified
cocoa commitment, Hershey has made substantial progress towards its 2020
goals. The company is on track to source at least 10 percent of its total
global cocoa purchases from certified sources in 2013, the first year of its
2020 commitment. Hershey also announced benchmarks for reaching 100 percent by
2020. The company has committed to scaling its certified cocoa purchases at
the following rate:

  *At least 10 percent by the end of 2013
  *40 to 50 percent by the end of 2016
  *100 percent by 2020

The company will continue to provide updates on its certified cocoa progress
throughout the next seven years as part of its ongoing CSR reporting.

Accelerating CocoaLink

The Hershey 21^St Century Cocoa Plan also includes accelerating and expanding
its innovative and successful CocoaLink mobile phone program, which the
company launched in 2011 in Ghana with the Ghana Cocoa Board and the World
Cocoa Foundation. In 2013, the program will expand into Cote d’Ivoire, a major
cocoa-producing country.

CocoaLink is a first-of-its kind program that uses mobile technology to
deliver practical agricultural and social training to rural cocoa farmers at
no cost. Today, more than nine in 10 Ghanaian cocoa farmers have access to a
mobile phone. Since launching in Ghana in July 2011, CocoaLink has:

  *Registered more than 16,000 cocoa farmers – about 35 percent of whom are
    women – in 550 communities across Ghana’s cocoa growing sector,
  *Provided 300,000 SMS messages in the local language on topics that include
    pruning, planting, fertilizer application, spraying, children’s issues and
    insect control, and
  *Addressed high illiteracy levels through community literacy training.

Hershey Development Center Enhances Cocoa Traceability and Certification

The  HERSHEY LEARN TO GROW  farmer and family development center, launched in
2012 in Assin Fosu in Ghana’s central cocoa region, will now play an important
role in Hershey’s overall sustainable cocoa plans. The center, created in
partnership with Source Trust, a non-profit organization set up to help
farmers improve their livelihoods through better crop yields and quality, will
provide Hershey with verified cocoa that can be traced back to the individual
farm level.

HERSHEY LEARN TO GROW  and 25 participating community-based farmer
organizations help improve the living standards of 1,250 cocoa farm families
through good agricultural, environmental, social and business practices
training; access to improved planting material; and finance for farm inputs
with the goal to double productivity yield and farm income over four years.
More than 50 percent of farm family income in this region comes from cocoa.
More than 6,000 community members will be impacted by the program.

The  HERSHEY LEARN TO GROW  farmer and family development center has also
brought high-tech learning to the rural farm village. Last year, Hershey
launched a distance learning program that allows approximately 80 middle
school students in classrooms on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean to connect
through real-time, high-definition technology that creates a common, virtual
classroom experience. Students in Assin Fosu connect to students from the
Milton Hershey School in Hershey, Pa., to share learning and cultural
experiences.

The technology is also used to train local cocoa farmers on good agricultural,
environmental and social practices and to benefit the wider community.

Accelerating Change to Improve Lives

Hershey’s 21^St Century Cocoa Plan represents a range of on-the-ground
programs and initiatives that work together to accelerate positive change in
the cocoa growing regions over the next seven years. For example, in Mexico,
Hershey and cocoa supplier Agroindustrias Unidas de Cacao SA de CV have
launched the Mexico Cocoa Project, a 10-year initiative to reintroduce cocoa
growing in southern Mexico and help restore the country’s cocoa crop after it
had been nearly decimated by the spread of a disease known as frosty pod rot.
Through the distribution of disease-tolerant trees, the program intends to
improve the livelihoods of more than 1,000 cocoa farmers and their families in
the region and quadruple family incomes.

Through its own and partner programs, Hershey estimates the total portfolio of
programs encompassed by its 21^St Century Cocoa Plan will directly impact
750,000 cocoa farmers and indirectly benefit more than two million West
Africans through utilization of technology, farmer training on good
agricultural practice, cocoa seed nurseries and planting material, farm inputs
on credit, village resource centers, malaria prevention, community
infrastructure, village school construction, and literacy and health programs.

Hershey will regularly update its progress on the Hershey’s 21^St Century
Cocoa Plan and its various programs through its Corporate Social
Responsibility public reporting and on its website.

About The Hershey Company

The Hershey Company (NYSE: HSY) is the largest producer of quality chocolate
in North America and a global leader in chocolate and sugar confectionery.
Headquartered in Hershey, Pa., The Hershey Company has operations throughout
the world and approximately 14,000 employees. With revenues of more than $6.6
billion, Hershey offers confectionery products under more than 80 brand names,
including such iconic brands as Hershey's, Reese's, Hershey's Kisses,
Hershey's Bliss, Hershey's Special Dark, Kit Kat, Twizzlers, Jolly Rancher and
Ice Breakers. The company is focused on growing its presence in key
international markets such as China, Mexico and Brazil while continuing to
build its competitive advantage in the United States and Canada.

For more than 100 years, The Hershey Company has been a leader in making a
positive difference in the communities where its employees live, work and do
business. Corporate Social Responsibility is an integral part of the company’s
global business strategy, which includes goals and priorities focused on fair
and ethical business dealings, environmental stewardship, fostering a
desirable workplace for employees, and positively impacting society and local
communities. Milton Hershey School, established in 1909 by the company's
founder and funded by a trust administered by Hershey Trust Company, provides
a quality education, housing, and medical care at no cost to children in
social and financial need. Students of Milton Hershey School are direct
beneficiaries of The Hershey Company's success.

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Contact:

The Hershey Company
MEDIA CONTACT:
Jeff Beckman, 717-534-8090
 
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