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CocoaLink program helps improve planting techniques, yields and social conditions
Submitted by: Center for Corporate Citizenship at Boston College
Posted: Feb 23, 2012 – 03:35 PM EST
CHESTNUT HILL, Mass., Feb. 23 /CSRwire/ - The 2012 International Corporate Citizenship Conference March 25-27 in Phoenix will provide more than 500 practitioners a variety of perspectives on managing the many environments of corporate citizenship. One of those perspectives will come from keynote speaker James E. Nevels, chairman of The Hershey Company Board of Directors.
Nevels was born in Greensboro, Ala., and is chairman of The Swarthmore Group, an investment advisory firm he founded in 1991. He has more than 25 years experience in the securities and investment industry. In addition to sharing the board room perspective on corporate citizenship, Nevels will talk about the sense of purpose imbued by the company’s founder, Milton S. Hershey, and evident today in Hershey’s work with cocoa farmers in Ghana.
Nevels will share the story of CocoaLink – Connecting Cocoa Communities – an effort by the Ghana Cocoa Board, the World Cocoa Federation and The Hershey Company, to help farmers improve planting techniques, yields and social conditions. Through the use of mobile voice and SMS text messages, CocoaLink connects cocoa farmers with important information about improving farming practices, farm safety, child labor, health, crop disease prevention, post-harvest production and crop marketing. With no daily newspapers or radio stations to connect farmers hundreds of miles apart, CocoaLink allows farmers to learn about an insect that was attacking trees in another part of the country, or about an irrigation technique that was being used successfully.
CocoaLink is part of a $10 million investment by Hershey in programs to improve cocoa communities in West Africa. Hershey is also establishing the Hershey Learn to Grow farm program in Ghana to provide local farmers with information on best practices in sustainable cocoa farming. It is one more effort by The Hershey Company to improve the lives of farmers in the region and expand the global supply of cocoa.
The story of CocoaLink is a compelling one for Hershey, a company with a legacy of giving back to communities. Milton Hershey, along with his wife, Catherine, created the Milton Hershey School for orphaned boys, which today provides a quality education, housing, and medical care at no cost to more than 1,800 boys and girls in social and financial need. There is also a personal aspect to the CocoaLink story for Nevels, an African American, who made his first trip to West Africa while working on CocoaLink.
In addition to serving on The Hershey Company Board of Directors, Nevels is currently a member of the Board of the Hershey Trust Company and Milton Hershey School, Deputy Chair and member of the Board of the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia and member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame Board of Trustees. He also serves as Member of Council and President of The Pennsylvania Society.
Nevels’ professional and personal observations are just some of the many insights attendees can expect from keynote speakers and breakout sessions during the International Corporate Citizenship Conference in Phoenix, March 25-27, presented by Boston College’s Center for Corporate Citizenship.
The Boston College Center for Corporate Citizenship at the Carroll School of Management is a membership-based research organization committed to helping business leverage its social, economic and human assets to ensure both its success and a more just and sustainable world. As a leading resource on corporate citizenship, the Center works with global corporations to help them define, plan and operationalize their corporate citizenship. Through the power of research, management and leadership programs, and the insights of its more than 360 corporate members, the Center creates knowledge, value and demand for corporate citizenship. www.BCCorporateCitizenship.org
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