Hershey confirms major move to reduce its global emissions
The US-based Hershey confectionery giant has set out key new targets to reduce global emissions and positively impact on climate change action, writes Neill Barston.
As the business explained, its goal is to implement reductions in line with the best practice of the of the Paris Climate Agreement, to limit global temperature rise to 1.5°C.
The move places the company in line with US president Joe Biden’s newly instituted policy, which saw the country return to the historic international environmental pact signed by 189 nations within hours of his appointment in January, reversing the controversial decision of his predecessor Donald Trump in pulling the country out of the key climate accord.
In 2019, Hershey committed to the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) that it would audit its operations and develop targets to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions in line with the best available climate science. As a result of that process, Hershey today announces its goal to reduce its absolute Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions by more than 50% and its absolute Scope 3 emissions by 25% by 2030, compared to a 2018 baseline.
“Climate change is one of the most urgent threats to our planet that we face today. In order to deliver on our purpose to make more moments of goodness, we must operate with sustainability at the forefront and commit to doing our part to address climate change,” said Michele Buck, The Hershey Company President and Chief Executive Officer. “We will continue to use our scale and apply the full force of our business to reduce our greenhouse emissions and drive climate action forward.”
Hershey will deploy a comprehensive, global approach to reduce emissions through targeted investments in energy efficiency, renewable energy, packaging innovations as well as sustainable land-use policies.
Hershey’s new commitments to reduce its impact on the planet are part of its Environment, Social and Governance (ESG) agenda, a key priority for the company and a focus for how it operates its business around the world.
Renewable energy investments and energy efficiency projects will be a primary focus for Hershey to reach its Scope 1 and Scope 2 commitment. The company has signed two power purchase agreements (PPAs) that will enable the construction of two new utility-scale solar farms. Additional energy efficiency projects are being pursued around the world, and the company will continue on its path towards an increasing reliance on clean and renewable energy across all operations. These efforts, along with others, are expected to reduce Hershey’s Scope 1 and Scope 2 greenhouse gas emissions by more than 40% by 2024.
To drive this commitment forward, each Hershey location around the world has designated an Energy Champion, responsible for implementing carbon savings, meeting energy conservation goals, promoting employee engagement, and identifying opportunities for energy reduction and efficiencies.
Advancing Sustainable Packaging Solutions
Furthermore, the company said it recognises the role of innovative packaging solutions in reducing its environmental footprint and lowering its Scope 3 emissions. In 2015, the company committed to reduce its packaging weight by 25 million pounds by 2025 and has successfully delivered on that promise five years ahead of schedule.
Building on this progress, the business revealed it has set a new goal to reduce packaging weight an additional 25 million pounds by 2030. Hershey is also targeting 100% of its plastic packaging to be recyclable, reusable or compostable by 2030. These commitments not only reduce waste, which contributes to a more circular economy, but also will help reduce emissions, contributing to the company’s new GHG reduction target. The company said its approach to sustainable packaging serves to better meet consumer needs while ensuring its longstanding commitment to food quality and safety.
Ending Deforestation by 2030
Deforestation and forest degradation are key contributors to climate change and global warming. Action on land-use is a critical part of Hershey’s plan to reduce its Scope 3 emissions, and today the company is committing to end deforestation across its supply chain by 2030 with a new company-wide deforestation policy.
Hershey’s commitment to end deforestation applies to all suppliers across its raw material supply chains, though the company will prioritise achieving independent verification of compliance with this policy for the commodities in its supply chain that present the greatest risk of contributing to deforestation: cocoa, palm oil, pulp & paper (packaging), and soy.
“These environmental commitments are critical to the long-term sustainability of our business,” said Jeff King, Senior Director of Global Sustainability and Social Impact. “The work is interconnected across our business and requires us to bring together all efforts across the company, from manufacturing, energy buying and packaging to make it work seamlessly to reach our goals.”