The Hershey Co. released its latest annual Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) report Wednesday, outlining progress it made last year toward its commitment to “Shared Goodness.”
The company is focused on improving its environmental sustainability, strengthening local communities, providing children with the nutrition they need to learn and grow, responding to consumers’ desire for greater transparency and simple ingredients, and offering an engaging and flexible workplace for its employees.
“Hershey has a long heritage as a purpose-driven company and “Shared Goodness” reflects our conviction that strong company performance is intrinsically linked to a responsible and sustainable operation,” said Michele Buck, Hershey’s president and ceo. “As we share our progress this year, I’m most proud of our employees, who dedicate their time and talents for a greater good. Their passion and purpose is what makes our company extraordinary and reflects the legacy of social innovation established by Milton Hershey.”
Milestones from the “Shared Goodness” report include:
Improving Environmental Sustainability
In 2016, Hershey launched bold, new “25 by 25” sustainability goals. These include Hershey’s aim to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, water use and waste by 25 percent and packaging waste by 25 million pounds by 2025, measured against 2015 levels. The company initiated the program with an innovative new packaging approach that reduced corrugate waste by 3.12 million pounds, lessened its carbon footprint and improved sustainability efficiencies across the supply chain.
Growing Cocoa for Good
Cocoa is one of the most important ingredients used at Hershey. Cocoa sustainability and the well-being of cocoa communities are a top priority. Hershey increased its certified and sustainable cocoa sourcing to 60 percent of all cocoa it purchased in 2016 and remains on track to reach 100 percent by 2020. Hershey also joined The World Cocoa Foundation’s (WCF) Climate Smart Cocoa program in 2016 to help address the threat that climate change poses to cocoa communities.
Last year, the company expanded its Hershey Learn to Grow agricultural training programs which help build healthy, productive communities through education, women’s empowerment and policies designed to prevent illegal and forced child labor in the company’s supply chain. Hershey now reaches more than 48,300 farmers across Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana and Nigeria —nearly 70 percent of its overarching goal of 70,000 by 2019.
Nourishing Minds around the World
Through Nourishing Minds, the company’s shared social purpose, Hershey is using its expertise in food production and processing to provide children with the basic nutrition they need to learn and grow. In 2016, Hershey expanded partnerships and programs in Ghana, the United States,
Canada and China, moving closer toward its goal of nourishing one million children by 2020.
2016 Nourishing Minds highlights included:
- Ghana: ViVi — a peanut-based, vitamin and mineral fortified supplement — helped improve the basic nutrition of 50,000 Ghanaian children each day. Preliminary research conducted in 2016 by the University of Ghana showed reductions in levels of anemia in children who received ViVi.
- United States: Hershey partnered with Feeding America and local Hershey, Pa., organization COCOA Packs to help ensure that more than 200 students have food on the weekends during the school year and that more than 100 students receive extra nutrition over the summer.
- Canada: Hershey launched Nourishing Minds in Canada in partnership with Food Banks Canada and created Food Explorers, a new program that helps schoolchildren build knowledge and confidence around food and nutrition.
- China: Hershey partnered with the China Foundation for Poverty Alleviation to provide 11 school canteens with modern cooking and food storage equipment, making it possible for the schools to provide fresh, healthier meals with more variety.
Increasing Transparency and Simplicity
Today’s consumers want to know more about what they’re eating and how it was made. Hershey is taking significant steps to provide clear, easily accessible information about its products and to use fewer and simpler ingredients in its most iconic products, while staying true to the classic flavors and textures people love. Hershey pioneered the innovative SmartLabel platform, and in 2016 began adding detailed product and ingredient information online and on pack to products across its portfolio.
Fostering an Engaging and Flexible Workplace
Hershey strives to create a workplace culture that attracts and retains the best talent in the world — from Millennials to veterans to people of diverse backgrounds — through a mix of outreach, new initiatives and policy improvements. In 2016, the company introduced SmartFlex, a suite of policies and a mindset for balancing work and personal time that encourages employees to make smart choices for themselves and for Hershey’s business. SmartFlex benefits include parental leave, flexible technology for easy access to company systems, flexible work schedules, and flexible dress codes.
Hershey’s 2016 CSR report is in accordance with the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) Standards. GRI is a widely used standard that provides companies and organizations with a common framework to measure and report on sustainability performance.