HERSHEY, PA. — The Hershey Co. has made progress on its major sustainability goals and priorities, according to its ESG report from 2022.

One of these priorities is a recently launched Income Accelerator program in Côte d’Ivoire, which involves using proven property reduction strategies that provide cash transfers and investment in village savings and loan associations to supplement farmer income and prevent poverty for the next five years. The company also brought in the Child Labor Monitoring and Remediation Systems (CLMRS) to help out participating farms as part of its commitment to eliminating child labor.

According to the report, CLMRS covered 72% of farmers in Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana and is on track to cover 100% by 2025. Another milestone that Hershey reached in 2022 is achieving 77% cocoa sourcing visibility by volume in Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana and is on track to reach 100% sourcing visibility by 2025. The company also plans to invest $500 million in positively impacting cocoa farming communities by 2030 as part of its Cocoa For Good strategy. Hershey is continuing to help farmers through supporting initiatives that provide them with financial and agricultural literacy.

In terms of impacting climate change, Hershey invested $3 million in reporting systems that offer real-time utility usage data for electricity, natural gas and water at each of its facilities, with the hopes of reducing energy intensity by approximately 10% over the next five years. According to the report, these systems were installed in US facilities in 2022 and will be installed in international facilities during 2023.

Hershey said it has improved energy intensity of its manufacturing sites by 6.1% compared to a 2018 baseline due to its participation with the Environmental Protection Agency’s Energy Star challenge for industry and the US Department of Energy’s Better Buildings, Better Plants program. The company also said it has improved global water intensity by 6% in 2022 with a 14% improvement in water intensity at international facilities (compared to 2021) due to support from the company’s Energy and Water Management Steering Committee. Hershey also invested close to $1.5 million in high-efficiency equipment to decrease well water usage at the company’s headquarters.

According to the report, Hershey aims to achieve 50% absolute reduction in Scope 1 and 2 greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2030 against a 2018 baseline.

As part of the company’s five-year diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) framework known as the Pathways Project, Hershey created a strategic initiative at its Hazleton, Pa., plant in 2022 called “Say Hola,” which brings Spanish and English-speaking employees under one roof through bilingual training, managerial assistance and workplace materials. According to the report, this program reduced recruitment costs and improved hiring and retention, with more than 90% of applicants having the desired manufacturing experience compared to the 50% before the program’s launch.

Hershey also said it intends to expand its partnership with three military hiring organizations as part of its efforts to increase veteran hiring by 4%. Thanks to the company’s Veteran Business Resource Group, Hershey has joined the National Veterans Business Development Council and donated to a nonprofit that helps homeless veterans called Veterans Outreach of Pa. These initiatives and more highlight why Hershey was named in Diversity Inc’s “Top Companies for Diversity” in 2023.

“As we continue to act on the most important areas of focus for our business, including responsible sourcing, reducing our carbon footprint, and promoting inclusivity, we are continually reminded that our progress and achievements are made possible by our employees, farmers, partners and other stakeholders who share our commitment to creating a more sustainable and equitable future,” said Michele Buck, chief executive officer of Hershey Co. “We are grateful for their input and support and look forward to continuing this journey together.”

To read the full report, click here.