Hershey underlines key achievements with its 2020 sustainability report

The Hershey Company has moved to underline its environmental measures and achievements with the release of its 2020 Sustainability Report, charting key goals over the past year, writes Neill Barston.

As the business noted, it has followed a holistic strategy known a its Shared Goodness Promise – which includes initiatives across the enterprise and value chain such as responsible sourcing, respecting human rights, climate action, employee wellbeing, diversity, equity and inclusion, and community engagement.

Hershey’s Shared Goodness Promise guides the company to make positive change at scale and leverage its business to advance more sustainable growth, with socially conscious and responsible business practices.

“2020 was a year of unprecedented challenges and hardship for us all, but also one of opportunity. At Hershey, our purpose – to make more moments of goodness – and our values of togetherness, integrity, excellence and making a difference, grounded our every effort as we put goodness into action by looking after one another and working together each and every day to make a positive impact,” said Michele Buck, Chairman, President and CEO of The Hershey Company. “I am tremendously proud of the progress we made and the accelerated actions we took across ESG. There remains more work ahead for us, but by continuing to put our people first and focusing on what matters most to all of our stakeholders, we are confident about the future.”

Among the core areas with the report has been its analysis of handling the coronavirus pandemic. This has centred on protecting the physical, emotional and economic well-being of its many stakeholders was Hershey’s top priority throughout the pandemic.

The company invested $1 million to convert traditional manufacturing operations to produce more than 40 million masks, a portion of which were donated to community organisations and schools in its hometown of Hershey, PA. It  also provided incremental incentives and appreciation pay to its front-line workers in manufacturing and retail workers globally, enhanced its facilities with new safety equipment to allow for physical distancing and procured personal protective equipment (PPE) and hand sanitiser for employees and suppliers alike.

Recognising the dramatic shift for employees working from home, Hershey offered new family-friendly benefits to employees and flexible calendar management to balance added responsibilities. To make an impact on a global scale, Hershey joined forces with its partners in Ghana, Belize and Mexico to educate sugar and cocoa farmers on safety guidelines and best practices to help these communities stay resilient and healthy.

Another key report focus was on its sustainable cocoa responsibilities – which it highlighted as a core priority.  In 2020, Hershey achieved its 100% certified and sustainable cocoa commitment made in 2011 and further committed to 100% sustainable sourcing of all cocoa from Cote d’Ivoire and Ghana by 2025, enabling the company to have greater visibility and impact into where and how its cocoa is grown. Through its Cocoa For Good strategy, Hershey will continue its focus on supporting cocoa farmers and their families to be able to live healthy, prosperous lives in thriving ecosystems.

Climate action plans

In addition Hershey set science-based targets to reduce absolute greenhouse gas emissions by more than 50% across Scope 1 and 2 and 25% across Scope 3 by 2030, compared to 2018. The company detailed operational plans it is pursuing to deliver these goals including the development of renewable energy, investing in energy efficiency, improving the environmental sustainability of its packaging, working to stop land-use change in the agriculture production of ingredients and harnessing the passion of its employees on sustainability through new Green Teams that were launched during the year.

Furthermore, the business also advanced its diversity, equality and inclusion measures, which it added had been accelerated in the past year. This has included a refreshed enterprise inclusion strategy, new training schemes, educational and career development resources for employees, and a $1.5 million investment in the Thurgood Marshall College Fund to provide scholarships for underrepresented populations.

Finally, the business has confirmed its commitments to build a more diverse and inclusive workforce, with a goal of increasing the representation of people of colour to 30-40% amongst its U.S. employees and of women globally to 47-50% by 2025. In 2020, the company achieved 1:1 aggregate gender pay equity and by early 2021 we achieved 1:1 aggregate pay equity for salaried people of colour in the United States. For more information on its policies read  the 2020 Sustainability Report.

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