Hershey, PA — The Hershey Co. has established new commitments to advance its environmental progress and contribute to global climate action. The company’s goal is to reduce its global emissions in line with the global best practice of the Paris Climate Agreement, to limit global temperature rise to 1.5°C.
In 2019, Hershey committed to the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi), indicating it would audit its operations and develop targets to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions in line with the best available climate science. As a result of that process, Hershey says its goal is to reduce its absolute Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions by more than 50 percent and its absolute Scope 3 emissions by 25 percent by 2030, compared to a 2018 baseline.
“Climate change is one of the most urgent threats to our planet that we face today. In order to deliver on our purpose to make more moments of goodness, we must operate with sustainability at the forefront and commit to doing our part to address climate change,” says Michele Buck, Hershey president and CEO. “We will continue to use our scale and apply the full force of our business to reduce our greenhouse emissions and drive climate action forward.”
Hershey notes it will deploy a comprehensive, global approach to reduce emissions through targeted investments in energy efficiency, renewable energy, packaging innovations as well as sustainable land-use policies. The commitments are part of the company’s Environment, Social and Governance (ESG) agenda, which it has stated is a key priority and a focus for how it operates its business around the world.
Investing in Energy Efficiency
Renewable energy investments and energy efficiency projects will be a primary focus to reach its Scope 1 and Scope 2 commitment, according to Hershey. The company has signed two power purchase agreements (PPAs) that will enable the construction of two new utility-scale solar farms. Additional energy efficiency projects are being pursued around the world, and the company will continue on its path towards an increasing reliance on clean and renewable energy across all operations. These efforts, along with others, are expected to reduce Hershey’s Scope 1 and Scope 2 greenhouse gas emissions by more than 40 percent by 2024.
To drive this commitment forward, the company notes each Hershey location around the world has designated an Energy Champion, responsible for implementing carbon savings, meeting energy conservation goals, promoting employee engagement, and identifying opportunities for energy reduction and efficiencies.
Advancing Sustainable Packaging Solutions
Hershey points out it recognizes the role of innovative packaging solutions in reducing its environmental footprint and lowering its Scope 3 emissions. In 2015, the company committed to reduce its packaging weight by 25 million pounds by 2025 and has successfully accomplished this goal five years ahead of schedule.
Building on this progress, the company has set a new goal to reduce packaging weight an additional 25 million pounds by 2030. Hershey is also targeting 100 percent of its plastic packaging to be recyclable, reusable or compostable by 2030. These commitments not only reduce waste, which contributes to a more circular economy, but also will help reduce emissions, contributing to the company’s new GHG reduction target.
Ending Deforestation by 2030
Action on land-use is a critical part of Hershey’s plan to reduce its Scope 3 emissions, with the company committing to end deforestation across its supply chain by 2030 through a new company-wide deforestation policy. Hershey’s commitment to end deforestation applies to all suppliers across its raw material supply chains, though the company will prioritize achieving independent verification of compliance with this policy for the commodities in its supply chain that present the greatest risk of contributing to deforestation: cocoa, palm oil, pulp & paper (packaging), and soy.
As part of its No Deforestation commitment, the company says it will take action regarding any supplier that is not in compliance with the policy, including potentially suspending or removing them from the supply chain.
As part of its work to prevent deforestation, Hershey uses GPS devices to collect information about farm boundaries and create polygon maps of the farms from which it sources cocoa. These maps are combined with satellite images to identify places where forests and other sensitive ecosystems might have been degraded or where intact forests remain in proximity to cocoa farms.
The company says it also remains committed to reforestation efforts. Between 2013 and 2019, Hershey distributed more than 7.4 million cocoa trees and 921,000 shade trees to promote biodiversity, food security and income diversification.
“These environmental commitments are critical to the long-term sustainability of our business,” says Jeff King, senior director of global sustainability and social impact. “The work is interconnected across our business and requires us to bring together all efforts across the company, from manufacturing, energy buying and packaging to make it work seamlessly to reach our goals.”