Hershey reveals ESG progress on sustainable sourcing and best practices

In the wake of a major showing at this year’s Sweets & Snacks Expo, Hershey has released its 2023 Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) Report, detailing attainments on sustainable cocoa sourcing, environmental performance, promoting human rights, writes Neill Barston.

As the business explained, its latest study also reveals progress on other additional key areas including policies relating to youth and community, and comes as the company was awarded the top spot in the 2024 Fair360 Top 50 Companies list for diversity and treatment of employees.

The company, which now employs 20,000 people in the US and operates in 80 countries, unveiled a strong portfolio of existing and expanded product ranges at last month’s Sweets & Snacks Expo (see our exclusive video review of the show featuring Hershey here), and as well as maintaining a strong flow of new product development, it has placed sustainable practices as a core priority of its operations.

“Hershey remains focused on strengthening our business and making the biggest impact in our focus areas,” said Michele Buck, CEO of The Hershey Company. “While we have more to do on this journey, the collective efforts of our team, in partnership with leading organizations and key stakeholders, will continue to propel us forward. Our actions and progress are aimed at driving long-term resiliency for our business, sustainability for our planet and the well-being of our people.”

Notably,  Hershey’s Cocoa For Good strategy, underpinned with a $500 million investment, includes initiatives to create a supply chain where farmers, and their children and families, can prosper. Today, Hershey has invested 51% of that commitment. Achievements include:

In addition, another key venture for the business has been its Hershey Income Accelerator Program (HIAP) was launched in spring of 2023, and the company has reached 1,850 cocoa farmers with first cash transfers for the adoption of sustainable farming practices.

Furthermore, as the company detailed, it has made investments to improve education infrastructure, provide school nutrition, deliver school supplies and help children obtain birth certificates.

As part of an agreement with Ivory Coast’s CNS (National Oversight Committee of Actions Against Child Trafficking, Exploitation and Child Labor) and the International Cocoa Initiative (ICI), Hershey is funding construction of 12 primary schools in cocoa-producing communities. The first school opened in Drissapé, Côte d’Ivoire in December 2023.

Significantly, the company has also developed a new human rights framework, the Human Rights Impact Pathway, was developed to guide the company’s future programming to address the most complex issues and drive systemic improvements that remove barriers to basic human rights.

On climate change and reducing waste, it has expanding efforts to reduce emissions in its value chain while advancing nature-based projects to combat climate change. Progress updates from 2023 include: The company achieved a 43% reduction in Scope 1 and 2 emissions against a 2018 baseline and is on track to achieve a 50% absolute reduction by 2030.

The company also phased out more than 1.7 million pounds of material by eliminating, redesigning and reducing packaging in 2023, and also made a key commitment in accelerating the end date for its deforestation and conversion-free commitment from 2030 to 2025.


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