Ivory Coast lifts suspension of Hershey cocoa sustainability schemes

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In this news, we discuss the Ivory Coast lifts suspension of Hershey cocoa sustainability schemes.

ABIDJAN (Reuters) – Cote d’Ivoire will lift a suspension this week imposed on cocoa sustainability programs run by Hershey after the US chocolate maker pledged to pay a premium aimed at tackling poverty among farmers.

Ivorian and Ghanaian cocoa regulators suspended the programs on Monday, alleging that Hershey was sourcing large volumes of physical cocoa from the ICE futures exchange to avoid paying the so-called Living Income Differential (LID).

Hershey, maker of popular candy items such as Hershey Chocolate Bars, Hershey Kisses and Kit Kat, said he is fully involved in LID and will continue to do so.

The Ivorian regulator, the Coffee and Cocoa Council (CCC), has since held a video meeting with representatives from Hershey in which it promised to lift the suspension, a letter dated December 4 from the CCC to Hershey and seen by Reuters broadcasts.

This decision “follows your final commitment to pay the LID,” says the letter, the authenticity of which has been verified by a spokesperson for the CCC.

“Our sustainability programs complement and strengthen our common efforts to positively impact cocoa growing communities,” Hershey said, adding that he recognizes the importance of LID.

The programs certify that the cocoa is sustainably sourced – meaning its production is free from human and environmental rights violations, such as child labor or cultivation in a protected forest.

This allows companies to market their chocolate as ethical and charge a premium for it.

Ghana’s cocoa industry regulator Cocobod has yet to make a decision on whether to lift the suspension, a spokesperson said.

Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana, which produce two-thirds of the world’s cocoa, introduced an LID of $ 400 per tonne on cocoa sales for the 2020/21 season, but have since struggled to sell their beans because demand for chocolate has been hit by the coronavirus crisis.

Additional reporting by Rama Venkat in Bengaluru; Written by Alessandra Prentice; Edited by Pravin Char and Alexander Smith

Original © Thomson Reuters

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