Hershey’s CSR Report: A Deep Commitment to Reducing Environmental Impacts

Reporting on Programs and Progress
Jul 10, 2012 4:30 PM ET
  • Reduced U.S. manufacturing waste by 23% between 2008 and 2011
  • Lowered waste to landfill or incinerator by 29% on 19% production increase
  • Exceeded Zero-Waste-to-Landfill manufacturing goal – three plants by 2012
  • Reduced GHG emissions by more than 15% since 2008

The Hershey Company recently issued its second Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Report – “Listen. Learn. Act.” – outlining how its commitment to environmental stewardship plays an important role in its business operations.

Minimizing environmental impact is one of the four pillars of the company’s CSR strategy. In its latest report, Hershey details its performance against the environmental goals it set in 2009 and describes a range of programs and initiatives that have delivered improved efficiencies, lower impacts and even decreased the cost of operations for North America’s largest confectionery company.  

The Hershey CSR report also reveals how the company has met or exceeded nearly all of its environmental goals between 2009 and 2011. For example, Hershey aimed to reduce waste generated by U.S. manufacturing plants by 15 percent from a 2008 baseline to the end of 2011. In actuality, the company lowered its U.S. manufacturing waste reduced by 23 percent in that timeframe. Waste to landfill or incinerator decreased by 29 percent between 2008 and 2011 even as production increased by 19 percent during the same time period.

Now, Hershey is pressing to do more and has set out even more ambitious goals to achieve by the end of 2015.

Achieving Zero Waste to Landfill

One of the noteworthy accomplishments outlined in the Hershey CSR Report was the achievement of zero waste to landfill (ZWL) at two facilities by 2011, exceeding its 2012 goal.  The company has since announced its third ZWL plant.  Including its Hershey’s Chocolate World visitors center, the company now maintains four ZWL facilities in its portfolio of operations.

Achieving ZWL status requires innovation, creativity and some ingenuity to reduce and eliminate waste streams so that materials aren’t going into landfills.  For Hershey, this meant pushing to elevate manufacturing recycling rates to nearly 90 percent and finding ways to convert the balance to energy, lowering the company’s overall waste footprint.  One interesting solution was the company’s animal feed program.  Manufacturing food waste is converted into productive animal feed, eliminating a potential waste stream while helping farmers across the region. 

Reducing GHG

Another key environmental goal for Hershey was to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 15 percent by 2011 from a 2008 baseline. This triggered a company-wide focus on efficiency and renovations to lower its energy needs. Hershey added biogas recovery to certain manufacturing plants to capture usable energy that would lower its overall energy requirements and reduce its carbon footprint.  These innovative approaches, along with lighting improvements across facilities, resulted in lowering greenhouse gas emissions by 15.2 percent from the 2008 baseline year.

Hershey also improved its logistical efficiencies through programs such as SmartWay, a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency program designed to promote cleaner and more fuel-efficient transportation practices.  Hershey has removed approximately 2,000 trucks from the highway and reduced carbon dioxide emissions by more than 1,300 tonnes.  This is the carbon dioxide equivalent of burning more than 145,700 gallons of gasoline.

In late 2011, the Hershey announced an innovative approach to reducing fuel and energy through a partnership with The Ferrero Group in North America.  The two companies are creating joint warehousing, transportation and distribution. This unique alliance between global confectionery companies will result in distribution efficiencies that reduce fuel use and warehousing energy consumption, further cutting greenhouse gas emissions generated from distributing products to retail customers.    

Looking to the Future

Hershey’s CSR Report outlines a range of successes in waste and carbon footprint reduction in recent years. At the same time, the company is setting even more ambitious goals for the future. Using a 2009 baseline, Hershey now seeks to reduce waste by an additional 25 percent and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 13 percent in operations and 10 percent in logistics. Other goals include attaining ZWL status at a total of five manufacturing plants as well as achieving a total company recycling rate of 85 percent.

Looking to the future, Hershey understands the growing importance of water conservation and is focused on opportunities to manage its usage. In 2009, the company began limited water audits at select facilities. Starting in 2012, Hershey is conducting comprehensive water-use audits at all of its manufacturing plants.  This analysis will help the company achieve its 2015 goal of reducing water use by 10 percent based on 2009usage rates. 

Environmental issues related to scarce resources, climate change, population growth and other challenges are increasingly a requirement for companies’ success. The Hershey Company has demonstrated its deep commitment to minimizing the environmental impacts of its operations and will continue this journey into the future. From sourcing goods and services to manufacturing products and delivering them to market, Hershey is focused on ensuring the quality and value customers and consumers expect from Hershey’s brands while continuing to be a CSR leader dedicated to being a good steward of the environment.    

For more information on Hershey CSR progress and programs, read Hershey’s CSR reports at: http://www.thehersheycompany.com/social-responsibility/csr-report.aspx