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Hershey Progresses in Integrating ESG Priorities Into Its Business

Its latest "Shared Goodness" report cites evolutionary strides across key areas and goals.
Hershey's Shared Goodness Report

HERSHEY, Pa. — The Hershey Co. released its 2021 Shared Goodness Report, revealing key areas of progress. Overall, Hershey has built a comprehensive corporate governance model to drive its environmental, social and governance (ESG) strategy forward across the business.

The company noted it has achieved significant strides in key areas, including cocoa sustainability efforts; environmental sustainability; responsible sourcing; and diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI).

"Hershey has been an integral member of the communities in which we live and operate since our founding," said CEO Michele Buck. "The culture that Milton Hershey created propels us to build on that legacy as we focus our efforts on integrating the important environmental, social and governance priorities throughout our business.

"We've made meaningful advancements on our global commitments, including our efforts to improve cocoa sustainability and support cocoa-growing communities," she continued. "We've also made significant progress reducing our emissions in line with our science-based targets and were named by Forbes as the World's Top Female Friendly Company." 

The 2021 Shared Goodness Report cited measurable progress against key areas of focus of its ESG strategy, including:

Advancing Progress on Cocoa Sustainability

  • Sourcing Cocoa: In 2021, Hershey achieved 68 percent cocoa sourcing visibility by volume in Côte d'Ivoire and Ghana. The company's goal is to achieve 100 percent sourcing visibility by 2025, under which all farmers will be polygon mapped to improve traceability and monitor deforestation, and will be covered by the Child Labor Monitoring and Remediation System to prevent, monitor and remediate child labor.
  • Addressing Child Labor: Hershey signed a five-year agreement to address child labor in Côte d'Ivoire by investing in 2,500 new classrooms and improving foundational literacy and numeracy skills for five million children at the primary school level. This agreement brings together the Jacobs Foundation, the Government of Côte d'Ivoire Ministry of Education and Literacy, and 14 other chocolate producers and cocoa suppliers.
  • Offering Nutritious Options: The company distributed ViVi, its vitamin-fortified, peanut-based, ready-to-use therapeutic food that provides children with 30 percent of their daily nutrition intake requirements, to 45,000 children in Côte d'Ivoire and Ghana.

Reduced Environmental Impact to Combat Climate Change

Hershey reported significant progress against its science-based environmental impact targets, which focus on what the planet needs most from the company and its supply chain.

The company achieved a 48 percent reduction of its Scope 1 and Scope 2 greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions — significant progress toward its 2030 goal of a 50 percent absolute reduction, compared to a 2018 baseline. The company also reported an 18 percent reduction in Scope 3 emissions, on track to reach its goal of a 25 percent absolute reduction in Scope 3 emissions by 2030, compared to a 2018 baseline.

Subsequently, to reduce its Scope 1 and Scope 2 GHG emissions, Hershey continues to transition to renewable energy through investments in three new solar farm projects across the United States and purchasing Renewable Energy Credits and Zero-Emissions Credits, an important step as solar farms are being constructed.

With more than 96 percent of Hershey's total GHG emissions resulting from its extended value chain, the company seeks to further its impact across sourcing, production, operations and manufacturing.

Furthermore, Hershey's key drivers of progress include reducing land use change through 100 percent independently verified cocoa, and partnering with dairy and sugar suppliers on sustainable farming practices.

Broadening Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Efforts

Hershey has increased efforts to bring in a wider range of talent, strengthen its development programs, and support diverse and inclusive communities across its supply chain through its Pathways Project.

Recognizing that transparency drives accountability, Hershey's 2021 ESG report contains expanded DEI and human capital disclosures. including:

  • Driving Inclusive Hiring: In 2021, Hershey set a new goal to achieve a college recruiting portfolio that is at least 50 percent diverse and added 23 historically Black colleges and universities and Hispanic-serving institutions to its roster of universities and schools to recruit from.
  • Advancing Economic Equality: The company established a new goal to increase spending with diverse suppliers to $400 million by 2030 to promote economic equality and opportunity for diverse businesses. In 2021, the company spent $92 million with 139 diverse suppliers.

Hershey's holistic ESG strategy, known as its "Shared Goodness Promise," guides the company in making a positive impact at scale and leveraging its business to advance more sustainable growth with socially conscious and responsible business practices. To read the full ESG report, click here.

As previously reported by Convenience Store News, Hershey is a category captain in the confectionery category. The company was one of the suppliers recognized by CSNews' 2022 Category Captains awards program. Its winning entry cited delivering a 10-12 percent lift for the confection category by implementing Hershey shopper insights principles. 

Hershey produces and sells more than 100 brand names in approximately 80 countries around the world, including Hershey's, Reese's, Kit Kat, Jolly Rancher and Ice Breakers

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