Hershey making ‘substantial progress’ against C.S.R. goals

by Eric Schroeder
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HERSHEY, PA. — When it comes to corporate social responsibility, The Hershey Co. has it going on.

In its third C.S.R. report issued May 1, the global confectionery leader said it has delivered “substantial progress” against its wide-ranging corporate social responsibility goals, completing 60% of its published goals and making solid progress against the remaining 40%, which are on track to be completed on time.

Goals completed during 2013 included achieving 100% Mass Balance Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (R.S.P.O.)-certified palm oil, ahead of the company’s original 2015 deadline. Hershey also committed to work with suppliers to achieve 100% traceable and sustainably sourced palm oil with independent verification by the end of 2014.

Hershey also exceeded its goals of enrolling more than 25,000 Ghanaian cocoa farmers in CocoaLink and launching CocoaLink in Cote d’Ivoire. By the end of 2013 Hershey said it had approximately 45,000 farmers in Ghana enrolled in CocoaLink and had launched CocoaLink in Cote d’Ivoire in partnership with 10 other organizations.

In the area of efficiency, Hershey noted in the report that it surpassed its goal of reducing waste by 25% in 2015 (achieved 38% reduction by end of 2013), achieving a recycling rate of 85% by 2015 (rate was 86.6% by end of 2013), and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 13% by 2015 (achieved 22% G.H.G. emissions reduction by end of 2013).

“Since our original goals were set, we have learned a lot about where we could make a difference and what would make the most impact where it matters,” said John P. Bilbrey, president and chief executive officer, The Hershey Co. “Our C.S.R. strategies have evolved, and the updated framework we share in this report reflects how our company values guide the way we work, and how our C.S.R. efforts have matured, become more focused and better aligned with our business.”

The updated framework mentioned by Mr. Bilbrey is rooted in “shared goodness,” and carries the tagline: “Hershey Shared Goodness: Good Business, Better Life, Bright Future.” Prior C.S.R. reports were centered on four pillars (marketplace, environment, workplace and community), each representing a core aspect of Hershey’s operations and commitments. Hershey said the four pillars remain areas of focus for the company, but the new framework “more accurately represents how we view the value and interrelationship of our efforts.”

“(Shared Goodness) represents our conviction that strong performance begins by operating effectively and ethically — that’s simply Good Business,” Mr. Bilbrey noted in the C.S.R. report. “The knowledge, capabilities and financial resources this approach provides us can then be applied to help our stakeholders achieve a Better Life and ultimately a Bright Future. This focused construct will help us successfully deliver both financially and socially as a responsible business.”

As a result of the substantial progress Hershey has made against its environmental priorities, the company said it has established new 2017 goals with 2013 as the baseline. New environmental targets include:

• reduce G.H.G. emissions by an additional 10%

• attain zero-waste-to-landfill status at an additional two plants

• attain a recycling rate of 90%

• complete a minimum of 25 packaging sustainability initiatives, resulting in the elimination of 16 million lbs of packaging material.

Achieving the targets will help Hershey reach its goal of $10 billion in annual revenue by 2017, the company said.

“Our bold, aspirational goals have enabled our people and business to grow significantly,” Mr. Bilbrey said. “The same can be said for C.S.R. It was time to evolve how we were managing our C.S.R. initiatives and engaging our stakeholders. Hershey Shared Goodness directly reflects Milton Hershey’s founding principle of ‘doing well by doing good,’ and positions us for greater growth today and into the future.”

For the full report visit www.thehersheycompany.com.
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