Hershey establishing higher cocoa sourcing visibility

Hershey establishing higher cocoa sourcing visibility

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 Hershey Co. continues to make progress on its commitments to support sustainable cocoa supply chains and reduce emissions, according to the company’s recently released environmental, social and governance (ESG) report for 2023.

“Our actions are aimed at improving the ecosystems critical for the ingredients that go into our products,” said Michele G. Buck, president and chief executive officer. “Our

sustainability initiatives are being further embedded in how we run our operations, including plant level targets for reducing emissions and water usage.”

The manufacturer’s cocoa ESG efforts remain its primary focus. Hershey is aiming to build on its already 100% independently verified cocoa supply chain by establishing full sourcing visibility for its cocoa volume in the Ivory Coast and Ghana by 2025. Hershey reached 89% sourcing visibility in 2023, and the report estimates the company is on track to reach its target goal. Hershey’s plans to have 100% of its cocoa farmers polygon mapped in both countries by 2025 similarly is on schedule, which will aid in improving traceability and achieving the company’s commitment to establish a deforestation-free supply chain.

“Cocoa remains our top priority, and while there is more to do, we are proud of our continued progress toward greater visibility and engagement with the farmers who grow this important ingredient,” Buck said.

Along with cocoa, Hershey has invested in sustainable sourcing for its priority ingredients and materials, reaching 86% of its stated goal to fully sustainably source the inputs by 2025. Included in this goal have been the company’s regenerative agriculture projects in its sugar supply chain, deforestation and traceability efforts among its palm oil suppliers, and the Sustainable Dairy PA pilot program.

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The dairy initiative, with participation from the Environmental Protection Agency and Land O’Lakes, helped reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and protect water quality through the planting of trees and riparian forest buffers.

“We believe this model is the future of how we will overcome the environmental hurdles we face,” said Jenna Mitchell Beckett, agriculture program director at the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay.

Hershey reduced its Scope 1 and Scope 2 GHG emissions by two percentage points compared to 2022, hitting 43% of its stated goal of 50% absolute reduction by 2030 against a 2018 baseline. The company’s Scope 3 emissions goal, a 25% absolute reduction also by 2030, is similarly on track, reaching a 15% reduction benchmark last year. In addition to its current initiatives, Hershey announced in 2023 that it was adding a new goal to source 100% of electricity from renewable and zero-emission sources by 2030.

“We made continued progress in reducing Hershey’s emissions with a keen business focus on our owned emissions and expanded efforts to reduce emissions in our value chain while advancing nature-based projects to combat climate change,” said Leigh Horner, chief sustainability officer.

Hershey also increased the percentage of its plastic packaging that is recyclable, reusable or compostable to 32%, up 17 percentage points from 2022. The company phased out more than 1.7 million lbs of waste through decisions to eliminate, redesign and reduce packaging across its portfolio.

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