Hershey claims progress against climate change impact goals
The Hershey Company has confirmed it has made notable progress on its commitment to act on climate change, as world leaders conclude the major Cop27 UN climate conference in Egypt, reports Neill Barston.
As the business noted, its recent initiatives include the launch of a third utility-scale solar project, energy and water optimisation investments and continued focus on addressing land use change.
As stated in its 2021 ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) Report, the candy and snack maker reduced its Scope 1 and 2 emissions by 48 percent and Scope 3 emissions by 18 percent against a 2018 baseline. As part of its science-based targets, Hershey aims to reduce Scope 1 and 2 emissions by 50 percent and Scope 3 by 25 percent by 2030.
Hershey and National Grid Renewables announced Hershey’s 140-megawatt Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) for the Copperhead Solar & Storage Project in Falls County, Texas earlier this month. The project is expected to produce an estimated $25 million in direct economic impact throughout its first 25 years of operation, including the production of new tax revenue, onsite operations jobs and the creation of a charitable fund estimated at $600,000. This is Hershey’s third solar PPA. The company’s second project with National Grid Renewables, Noble Solar & Storage, is located in Denton County, Texas.
“Investment in renewable energy is pushing us closer to achieving our ambitious science-based targets,” said Mark Kline, Director, Commodities & Specialty Procurement at The Hershey Company. “The impact of these three solar projects will be equal to taking nearly 79,000 gas-powered vehicles off the road per year.”
At the company’s iconic headquarters in Hershey, Pa. and in manufacturing facilities around the world, a $3 million investment for energy optimisation includes systems to report real-time utility usage data for electricity, natural gas and water. Most of these systems will be installed in U.S. facilities by the end of this year and in international facilities in 2023. In 2021, the company also invested nearly $1.5 million in high-efficient equipment and adjusted operating procedures to reduce well water usage. These recent environmental investments also help to reduce operating costs. 77 percent of the company’s electricity consumption in 2021 was renewable or zero-emissions energy. The investment in real-time utility usage data is expected to uncover additional energy saving opportunities and help to reduce the company’s energy intensity by approximately 10 percent over the next five years.
Addressing land use change is a significant part of Hershey’s climate action plans. The company is committed to eliminating commodity-driven deforestation from its supply chain by 2030. Through its sustainable cocoa strategy, Cocoa For Good, the candy and snack maker supports cocoa farmers through education on income diversification and climate-smart cocoa practices as the risks of climate change loom large for communities in West Africa. In 2021, 41 percent of Cocoa For Good farmers in Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana were trained on climate-smart cocoa using a curriculum Hershey helped to develop alongside partners.
Doing the right thing for the environment is not only good for the planet, but good for business. In addition to reducing operating costs across Scope 1 and 2, minimizing environmental impact and restoring ecosystems preserves and strengthens resources while fostering sustainable agricultural communities for generations to come. Across its value chain, Hershey is extending its expertise and working with partners for the long-term success and resiliency of those reliant on its business and for the next generation.
“Solving daunting issues like the impacts of climate change requires cross-industry collaboration. We are committed to partnering with others to achieve the impact we strive for. We know we don’t have all the answers and our work continues, but are proud of the progress made so far,” said Leigh Horner, Vice President of Global Sustainability and Corporate Communications at The Hershey Company.