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The Hershey Co. Issues Update on Sustainability Programs

The Hershey Co. child labor

The Hershey Co. has released its 2019 Sustainability Report. The company says the report reflects increasing transparency on its sustainability work and showcases Hershey’s progress to date in key areas of focus, such as sustainable cocoa, responsible sourcing, climate change and human rights.

Hershey says its Shared Goodness Promise continues to be a key driver in its sustainability strategy—with a focus on business, planet, communities and youth.  In 2019, the company says it made significant progress in these key focus areas, including commitments to the Science Based Targets Initiative (SBTi) to set a science-based carbon reduction goal; and a push to resolve some of the most pressing issues in its cocoa supply chain such as child labor.

“As we celebrated our 125th anniversary, we succeeded in honoring our founder by addressing key challenges facing our communities and our consumers, from 100 percent certified sustainable cocoa to addressing human rights across our entire value chain,” said Michele Buck, chairman, president and CEO of The Hershey Co..  “Today, as we collectively face an unprecedented time, our purpose is more important than ever—and we will continue our commitment to create more moments of goodness for all.”

 Milestones highlighted in the report include:

  • Investing in a More Sustainable Supply Chain: Hershey is committed to ensuring the ingredients and raw materials it purchases are responsibly sourced. In early 2019, Hershey published its first Human Rights Policy, after conducting an in-depth assessment of the company’s most salient human rights issues.  Hershey integrates human rights training into the new employee orientation process and makes it a requirement for all global procurement professionals. 
  • Eliminating Child Labor Within Cocoa Communities: Hershey does not tolerate child labor within its supply chain and is working to eliminate it from occurring within cocoa communities. Hershey recognizes child labor as a symptom of poverty and has developed a comprehensive strategy called Cocoa For Good, which seeks to disrupt the cycle of poverty while also addressing its many symptoms head-on. Under Cocoa For GoodHershey has adopted the Child Labor Monitoring and Remediation Systems (CLMRS) to detect, report and remediate any cases of child labor within its supply chain.
  • Supporting Cocoa Communities: Hershey’s Cocoa For Good works to increase the profitability of cocoa farming as well as diversify household incomes, educate families on the power of savings, foster women’s leadership and improve the quality of education to disrupt the cycle of poverty in cocoa growing communities.  In 2019, the company directly supported 51,009 farmers (12 percent female) in improving the quality and yield of cocoa and 21,194 farmers (16 percent female) in crop diversification.
  • Reducing Environmental Impact: Hershey said it is committed to preserving ecosystems, reducing its impact on the climate and conserving natural resources. In 2019, the company launched its first enterprise-wide environmental policy.  To date, the company has reduced 23.6 million pounds of packaging since 2015 and reduced its greenhouse gas intensity of products by 13 percent since 2015.  In 2019, Hershey committed to the Science-Based Targets Initiative (SBTi) to set a science-based greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reductions goal by 2021.  The company is on track to announce that target in early 2021 and in the meantime continues to pursue its 25 by 25 commitments set in 2015 to reduce water usage, waste and emissions by 25 percent by 2025.
  • Championing Diversity and Inclusion and Building Careers: Hershey said it is committed to creating a workplace that reflects the society that it serves and strengthening a culture where people can build their careers. Six out of nine Hershey executive committee members have built their careers at Hershey.  In 2019, Hershey ranked 25th on the DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity List.  The company also has nearly closed the gender pay gap with women earning $0.99 for every $1 that men earned compared to an average of about $0.82 across the United States.  Women also made up 45 percent of professional U.S. experienced hires and 53 percent of campus hires in 2019.  Twenty-five percent of the major Hershey retail accounts are led by women in the United States.  In addition, the company’s ethnic diversity continues to grow with people of color representing 31 percent of U.S. hires in 2019.

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