Hershey, PA — This past year, The Hershey Co. made progress in its social responsibility programs, including sourcing half of its cocoa from certified sustainable sources, according to the candymaker’s 2015 Corporate Social Responsibility Report.
Other achievements the company reached this past year include the addition of a fifth Learn To Grow program to train 8,000 cocoa farmers on sustainable and modern growing practices; a published position on animal welfare as well as a pulp and paper policy to help prevent deforestation; tracing 90 percent of palm oil purchases to the mill level and 10 percent to the plantation level as of mid-2015. Hershey reports it is aiming for complete palm oil traceability to the plantation level by the end of 2016.
In addition, the company launched the Nourishing Minds program, which leverages Hershey’s expertise in food processing, production and distribution to provide children with nutrient-dense food packs. The company hopes to reach one million people with the program by 2020.
Further, the candymaker began transitioning its products to simpler formulations with ingredients more familiar to consumers as well as extending item transparency through the SmartLabel QR-code program. Hershey reports it was the first U.S. company to adopt the on-pack labels, which provide shoppers with easy access to information about food items.
The company also made further strides in diversifying its global workforce, which is composed of 36 percent millennial employees. In addition, women now make up 45 percent of Hershey’s U.S. workforce, including 27 percent of its executive team. Leadership roles held by minority employees also increased and now comprise 18.5 percent of the company’s U.S.-based workers. Hershey also signed the Pennsylvania Competes pledge to support the Pennsylvania Fairness Act to protect LGBT Pennsylvanian’s from discrimination.