Corporate Social Responsibility: The Hershey Company

The Hershey Company is known for their delicious sweet treats and a theme park, located in Hershey, Pennsylvania. However, it is less well-known that Hershey is also a leader in corporate social responsibility. When it comes to taking responsibility for their company’s impact on the world, Hershey is doing it right.

Social Programs

Through Hershey’s Nourishing Minds program, the company is providing children with the basic nutrition they need to learn and grow. Their goal is to nourish one million children by 2020. In 2016, partnerships expanded to help citizens of 4 countries in incredible ways:

  • Ghana – Hershey partnered with ViVi, a provider of nutritional supplements, to improve the basic nutrition of 50,000 children in Ghana every day. Levels of anemia in the country have already been reduced.
  • Canada – Hershey is helping children gain knowledge about food and nutrition in Canada. Their Nourishing Minds program partnered with Food Banks Canada’s Food Explorers program.
  • China – The China Foundation for Poverty Alleviation and The Hershey Company provided 11 school canteens with equipment for cooking and food storage. The schools can now provide fresh, healthy meals to students.
  • United States – To ensure that hundreds of students have food on weekends and over the summer, Hershey partnered with Feeding America and COCOA Packs, a local Hershey, Pa., organization.

Hershey also boasts Learn to Grow, agricultural training programs that reach more than 48,300 farmers in Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana and Nigeria. The programs build healthy communities through education, women’s empowerment and policies that prevent forced child labor in the supply chain. They hope to impact 70,000 farmers by 2019.

Also worth mentioning is The Hershey Company’s involvement with the Milton Hershey School. This free private school helps children from severely low-income families realize their full potential from pre-kindergarten through 12th grade.  

Environmental Programs

In 2016, Hershey launched their “25 by 25” sustainability goals. They wanted to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions, water use and waste by 25% by 2025. They also want to reduce packaging waste by 25 pounds by the same year.

Hershey is also focused on cocoa sustainability. For good reason, the well-being of cocoa communities is a top priority for The Hershey Company. By 2020, they are on track for 100% of all cocoa to be purchased from only certified, sustainable sources. Hershey also joined the World Cocoa Foundation (WCF) Climate Smart Cocoa program in 2016. The program addresses how climate change could threaten cocoa communities.

Food Quality, Safety and Transparency

Consumers in today’s world are more interested in what they’re eating and how it was made. Hershey is striving to use fewer, simpler ingredients in its classic treats, while staying true to the flavor of their products. In 2016, Hershey began adding more detailed ingredient information that is easily accessible to consumers.

The Hershey Company was recognized in Corporate Responsibility Magazine as one of America’s ‘100 Best Corporate Citizens’ in 2013, but that didn’t stop them from creating new goals. Hershey’s transparent commitment to environmental, economic and social values is a business model all corporations can learn from.

Ross Sanner

Ross Sanner is the Founder and CEO of Think Growth Consulting LLC, a leading company that guides both nonprofit and for-profit businesses through smart, expansive investment and growth opportunities.

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