“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.
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.