Hershey unveils plan to set approved science-based target by 2021

US-based confectionary giant Hershey has committed to set an approved science-based emissions reduction target by 2021, as part of a sweeping new range of sustainability measures.

Overall, 481 companies from 38 countries have now committed to set an approved science-based target of some description

Overall, 481 companies from 38 countries have now committed to set an approved science-based target of some description

At a summit in Ghana on Thursday (24 January), the company revealed that it has partnered with the Science Based Targets Initiative (SBTi) to develop carbon reduction aims in line with a 2C trajectory over the next two years.

The firm, which produces products such as Kisses, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups and Almond Joy, said the target will cover Hershey’s “total environmental footprint”, including its Scope 1 & 2 (direct) and Scope 3 (indirect) emissions.

Such an aim will build on the company’s existing 2025 target of cutting its direct greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2025%, against a 2010 baseline.

The commitment to set a science-based target forms part of a wider string of sustainability announcements made by Hershey this week under its newly-published environmental policy.

Specifically, the policy states that all Hershey employees will have a role to play in making the company more sustainable going forward, as it works towards having a ‘net-positive’ environmental and social impact across its operations.

It additionally states that the company has joined the UN Global Compact as a corporate partner, committing it to align its sustainability actions and reporting with the body’s 10 principles on the environment, human rights, forced labour and anti-corruption.

“Hershey has long demonstrated its belief that business has a responsibility to help protect our communities and the planet we all share,” Hershey’s chief executive Michele Buck said.

“Together, these strategic environmental policies and initiatives will further strengthen how Hershey operates, creating a positive social impact from farm to finished product.”

Fair treatment for farmers

At the launch of Hershey’s new environmental policy, Buck also launched a supply chain initiative aimed at protecting forests and championing worker rights in its cocoa supply chain.

Developed as part of a collaborative effort with cocoa supplier Ecom, Ghana’s Nature Conservation Research Centre, the Ghana Forestry Commission and the Ghana Cocoa Board, the programme is designed to protect 118,000 square hectares of forest from deforestation and other climate-related challenges.

Coca farmers will be paid a premium for taking part, with Hershey estimating that the scheme will benefit more than 100,000 people in the Kakum National Park region.

“This programme will demonstrate that, at scale, cocoa agroforestry practices can transform how the crop is farmed in Ghana and beyond,” the Nature Conservation Research Centre’s programme and research director Ashley Asare said.

“Through the partnership, we can increase resilience and adaptability by reaching all the way to individual farmers with resources that can reduce deforestation and loss of ecosystem services through community-based landscape governance mechanism.”

The scheme builds on Hershey’s 2018 Cocoa For Good programme, which saw the company set aside more than £350m has to eliminate child labour, hunger and deforestation from its global supply chains by 2030.

It has a particular focus on West African communities, where around 70% of the world’s cocoa is sourced.

Sarah George


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