A Sweet Mission

 “Business is a matter of human service.” – Milton S. Hershey

I love chocolate. Everyone loves chocolate. And anyone who doesn’t love chocolate is a liar. Hershey is a cherished family brand and has become a household American name. My dad has worked at The Hershey Company for nearly as long as I’ve been alive, so needless to say, he was my childhood hero on account of all the free candy. Loyal consumers like me have a sentimental connection to Hershey’s popular brands like Kisses, Reese’s, York, and Kit-Kat. But do we ever stop to think about what goes into making our favorite candies? No… because they’re delicious. And while I agree that taste is important to Hershey’s business – very important – the globalizing company has taken large steps toward increasingly sustainable products in recent years.

In March 2013, Hershey unveiled its 21st Century Cocoa Plan, an extensive set of corporate social responsibility programs designed to certify that its primary raw inputs are ethically sourced as well as aid developing cocoa-growing communities in West Africa. Hershey formed partnerships with third-party suppliers including UTZ, Fairtrade USA, and Rainforest Alliance and announced that it aims to use 100 percent sustainably grown cocoa by 2020. Hershey beat its 2013 goal of 10 percent certified cocoa with an actual return of over 18 percent, meaning it will be on track to record between 40 and 50 percent certified cocoa by 2016. The company also established the Hershey Learn to Grow Development Center in Ghana, which provides training resources for local growers to improve health and safety, productivity, and cocoa yields.

Later in 2013, Hershey updated its corporate governance to integrate its growing CSR efforts. This new platform was called Shared Goodness and is defined by three core commitments: Good Business, Better Life, and Bright Future.

Hershey’s Shared Goodness CSR Platform (click image to enlarge)

The Hershey Company’s founder, Milton Hershey, was a passionate humanitarian with an impactful vision for his business: changing the world for the better. I think Milton would be proud of his legacy today. After all, I can’t think of anything better than sharing goodness with the world, especially if it includes chocolate.

Read more: Hershey 2013 CSR Report
Read less: Hershey 2013 CSR Report Executive Summary


6 responses to “A Sweet Mission

  1. I really like what Hershey has been doing recently. I think that a founder like Milton Hershey, who believed that “changing the world for the better” was an obligation, has proved helpful to Hershey’s sustainable focus. I believe that in this case, the dedication to sustainability is top down. This summer, I had the opportunity to meet the CEO of Hershey Entertainment, Bill Simpson, and he was one of the most genuine people I have met. It was evident that he truly cared about the footprint Hershey leaves on the world. He was very honest and took pride in how far Hershey has come. It is great to see big companies like Hershey doing such great things.


  2. I was encouraged to hear what Hershey is doing regarding responsibility. Particularly with the foods that are not necessarily healthy, they often do not feel the need to hold up to high standards as consumers will continue to buy their products. Do you think their goal of 40 to 50 percent by 2016 is substantial enough?


  3. I am very satisfied to see that Hershey is making such great efforts to assure pure ingredients but this got me thinking about Hershey’s end product. I agree with you, everyone loves chocolate! But currently there has been a huge movement towards healthy eating and fighting obesity. I recently saw on the news that obesity has now become one of the primary causes of cancer that humans can control. It is approaching smoking and may soon overpass it. I wonder what how Hershey would respond to these healthy eating campaigns. Candy is definitely not helping to fight obesity, so whether or not they are using pure ingredients they are still hurting a lot of people.


    • While I agree that the increasing rate of obesity is a leading health concern in America, in many cases, it is under the individual’s control. Hershey does not try to market its products as beneficial to health, but rather as an indulgence. It is the choice of the consumer whether or not buy and “indulge” in Hershey’s confectionery. And in my book, chocolate is always okay in moderation.


  4. I enjoyed reading what you had to say about Hershey and how they are being very responsible. Hershey chocolate is something just about everyone has tried at one time or another and its good to know they are doing everything the right way unlike some of the other large companies we have been talking about. Continuing, your comment about how Hershey does not market its products as beneficial to health is a good point. They are not trying to trick anyone by saying their chocolate is the healthiest thing for you and I feel like some food companies do this. Hershey does market their products as an indulgence and that is exactly what it is.


  5. Pingback: Blog Council: Our Favorite Companies | Stakeholders:Uncensored·

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