Hershey 2020 Sustainability Report advances firm’s diversity, equity & inclusion policies

By Anthony Myers

- Last updated on GMT

Hershey said 'key progress includes successfully navigating COVID-19 while making a positive impact'. Pic: Hershey Company
Hershey said 'key progress includes successfully navigating COVID-19 while making a positive impact'. Pic: Hershey Company

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The Hershey Company has released its 2020 Sustainability Report, which includes an in-depth review of its environmental and social initiatives during a year of ‘unprecedented challenges’.

Known as 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 said it is aiming to make positive change at scale and leverage its business to advance more sustainable growth, with socially conscious and responsible business practices.

Hershey’s top priority in 2020 was the physical, emotional and economic wellbeing of its employees as it worked to make more moments of goodness for consumers during the onset and continuation of the pandemic.

The company said it has made significant progress in its efforts to responsibly source cocoa while building healthy, prosperous cocoa communities, and took meaningful action to reduce its environmental footprint.

Racial equality

Additionally, the company put racial equality at the forefront of its agenda, co-creating with employees a strengthened diversity, equity, and inclusion strategy, investing in underrepresented communities and taking action to help end systemic racism.

“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.”

Notable milestones highlighted in Hershey’s 2020 Sustainability Report include:

  • Coronavirus: 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.  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.
  • Sourcing Cocoa Responsibly: Hershey continues to prioritise responsible cocoa sourcing to bring its iconic products to market sustainably. In 2020, Hershey achieved its 100% certified and sustainable cocoa commitment made in 2011 and further committed to 100% direct 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.
  • Strengthening Climate Action: 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.
  • Advancing Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI): Hershey accelerated its focus on diversity, equity and inclusion with a refreshed enterprise inclusion strategy, new trainings, educational and career development resources for employees, and a $1.5m investment in the Thurgood Marshall College Fund to provide scholarships for underrepresented populations. Today, the company is announcing new 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 US employees and of women globally to 47-50% by 2025.

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