KAKUM NATIONAL PARK, GHANA — The Hershey Co. will establish a new environmental policy, sign the United Nations Global Compact and join the Science Based Targets initiative, company executives said at the Kakum National Park in southern Ghana Jan. 24. Hershey also will launch the Kakum Cocoa Agroforestry Program designed to improve the well-being of cocoa farmers and their families and strengthen the region’s socio-economic and ecological resilience to climate change.

“Hershey has long demonstrated its belief that business has a responsibility to help protect our communities and the planet we all share,” said Michele G. Buck, president and chief executive officer of Hershey, Pa.-based Hershey. “Together, these strategic environmental policies and initiatives will further strengthen how Hershey operates, creating a positive social impact from farm to finished product.”

The new environmental policy will create a framework to guide future business decisions that impact the environment. It will align with the Paris Agreement on climate change, and it will support the U.N.’s Sustainable Development Goals. Hershey will leverage scientific data and engage external stakeholders to inform the company’s environmental strategy.

The United Nations Global Compact, a voluntary initiative, encourages businesses to adopt sustainable and socially responsible policies and then report on their implementation. The initiative features 10 principles based on the environment, human rights, labor and anti-corruption.

The Science Based Targets initiative is a collaboration between CDP (formerly Carbon Development Project), the United Nations Global Compact, the World Resources Institute and the World Wildlife Fund. Hershey has begun a two-year process to develop science-based targets.

For the Kakum Cocoa Agroforestry Landscape Program, Hershey is partnering with cocoa supplier Ecom, Ghana’s Nature Conservation Research Centre, the Ghana Forestry Commission and the Ghana Cocoa Board. The program seeks to protect the forest surrounding the Kakum National Park in southern Ghana. It is designed to benefit more than 100,000 people in the region. The program is part of the Cocoa Forest Initiative and supports Hershey’s “Cocoa for Good” sustainability strategy.

“Protecting forests and preserving the natural resources of the cocoa-growing areas here in West Africa is good for society and the bottom line,” said Jeff King, Hershey’s senior director of global sustainability and social impact for Hershey. “Our commitment to forest protection aligns perfectly with our sourcing partners in the region, and we know that by combining resources we will have greater impact on these communities and surrounding landscapes.”