HERSHEY, Pa., March 7, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Dagoba®Organic Chocolate today announced that their complete line of USDA Certified Organic chocolate products is now being made with cacao beans from Rainforest Alliance Certified™ farms; reinforcing the company's commitment to follow sustainable practices.
By mid-year consumers will be able to purchase Dagoba Organic Chocolate products that bear the Rainforest Alliance Certified seal. The seal indicates that the cacao beans were grown on sustainably managed farms that protect forests, rivers, soils and wildlife, while being good community neighbors. Rainforest Alliance certification also ensures that workers have safe working conditions, just wages, dignified housing and access to education for their children.
"The Dagoba brand takes unparalleled measures to ensure cacao farms are following the highest quality standards to produce the best certified organic cacao in the world," said Ray Major, who leads the cacao development and sourcing for Dagoba Organic Chocolate. "Working with the Rainforest Alliance, whose certification has the strongest voice in the area of environmental stewardship, ensures that these efforts are sustainable over the long term."
Dagoba Organic Chocolate works closely with cacao-producing communities in Tanzania, Dominican Republic and Peru, to help individual farmers achieve Rainforest Alliance certification before purchasing the cacao to blend for the company's chocolate products.
One specific example occurred in 2011 when more than 20,000 farmers in Kyela, Tanzania were certified at the request of Dagoba Organic Chocolate in one of the single largest group certifications. Separately, Dagoba Organic Chocolate also maintains a longstanding relationship with the Rainforest Alliance Certified Finca Elvesia farm in the Dominican Republic. The company supports the farm's social and ecological well-being through projects ranging from farming workshops to renewable energy initiatives. Finally, since 2010, Dagoba Organic Chocolate has been helping to optimize the fermentation practices in San Juan de Cheni, Peru, a small cacao-farming community consisting of 46 families. By creating a new, expanded nursery that provides seedlings to farmers and breaking ground on a central fermentation facility, the Dagoba brand will be able to secure a sustainable supply of high quality organic cacao that is consistent with the company's values.
"Through Rainforest Alliance certification, farmers learn to better manage their farms, adopting sustainable practices that improve efficiency, reduce costs and often help to improve crop quality," said Tensie Whelan, president of the Rainforest Alliance. "By sourcing cacao from Rainforest Alliance Certified farms, the Dagoba brand is helping to support a healthier planet, while providing consumers with sustainable, high quality products."
"By using Rainforest Alliance Certified cacao, Dagoba Organic Chocolate fans can expect a taste that is brighter, cleaner and more balanced compared with current Dagoba chocolates," added Major.
Dagoba Organic Chocolate is available at select mass and specialty retailers nationwide, as well as online at www.DagobaChocolate.com. For more information about Dagoba Organic Chocolate please visit www.DagobaChocolate.com and the Dagoba Organic Chocolate page on Facebook.
About Dagoba Organic Chocolate
Dagoba® Organic Chocolate was established in 2001 in Ashland, Oregon with a mission to create the finest organic chocolate that is rooted in responsible practices. Dagoba chocolate is USDA Certified Organic, made with cacao beans from Rainforest Alliance Certified™ farms, Kosher OU certified and gluten free. The product line includes twelve pure and exotic chocolate bars, four organic drinking chocolates and a range of home baking products. Dagoba Organic Chocolate is available at select mass and specialty retailers nationwide, as well as online at www.DagobaChocolate.com and www.Amazon.com. Dagoba Organic Chocolate is part of the Artisan Confections Company, a wholly owned subsidiary of The Hershey Company. For more information please visit www.DagobaChocolate.com.
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 more than 12,000 employees. With revenues of nearly $6 billion, Hershey offers confectionery products under more than 25 brand names, including such iconic brands as Hershey's, Reese's, Hershey'sKisses, Hershey'sBliss, Hershey's Special Dark, Kit Kat, Twizzlers, and Ice Breakers. Hershey also offers premium and artisan chocolate products under such brands as Scharffen Berger and Dagoba through the Artisan Confections Company, a wholly owned subsidiary. The company is focused on growing its presence in key international markets such as China and Mexico 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 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.
About the Rainforest Alliance
The Rainforest Allianceworks with people whose livelihoods depend on the land, helping them transform the way they grow food, harvest wood and host travelers. From large multinational corporations to small, community-based cooperatives, businesses and consumers worldwide are involved in the Rainforest Alliance's efforts to bring responsibly produced goods and services to a global marketplace where the demand for sustainability is growing steadily. For more information, visit www.Rainforest-Alliance.org.