Taking Action: Hershey Supports the Forest Through the Trees

Trees are essential to the long-term sustainability of our business and the partners who work with us to take steps to do the right thing for our planet.
May 21, 2024 10:45 AM ET
Three separate photo's of the forest

Angela Tejada-Chavez, Matt Silveira and Molly Haragan 
Angela Tejada-Chavez, Head of Sustainable Sourcing, Cocoa; Molly Haragan, Sr. Manager, Responsible Sourcing; Matt Silveira, Manager, Environmental Sustainability

Key Takeaways:

  • In 2023, Hershey expanded its partnership with Earthworm Foundation and Airbus to help us achieve No-Deforestation Verification across our priority ingredients and materials, supported by Starling, a satellite monitoring solution.
  • Our updated Deforestation and Conversion-Free Policy accelerates our timing to achieve our commitment by December 31, 2025 and serves as a critical component to delivering on our ambition to reduce value chain emissions.
  • Hershey is invested in conserving standing forests that are home to endangered plant and animal species in Ghana, Côte d’Ivoire and Indonesia and working through tree-planting partnerships as part of our agroforestry and reforestation efforts.

At Hershey, we have always said that doing good by the planet is not only doing the right thing – it’s good business. That statement is as true today as it was when our founder, Milton Hershey first said, “There is not a person alive who should not plant a tree — not for the shade that you’ll enjoy, but for those who are coming after.”

Hershey continues to invest in healthy forests and natural ecosystems. We understand the critical role of trees in contributing to climate change resiliency, farm resiliency, carbon reduction, and biodiversity as well as economic opportunities for forest-dependent families and communities.

Expanded No Deforestation Monitoring & Verification Partnership

Since 2020, Hershey has worked with Starling, a satellite monitoring solution co-developed by Earthworm Foundation (“Earthworm”) and Airbus, to monitor and verify that our palm oil supply chain is deforestation-free.

In 2023, we expanded this partnership to help us achieve No-Deforestation Verification across several of the priority ingredients and materials we source, supported by the use of Starling. Starling allows us to see where deforestation occurs in our supply chain in near real-time and enables us to take action with supply chain partners and local stakeholders to manage potential deforestation alerts. We can then verify if the ingredient or material is not linked to deforestation or if remedial actions may be required.

This partnership enables Hershey to take a holistic, multi-ingredient and material view to address the agricultural supply chains that are identified as most at risk for driving deforestation, degradation, and conversion.

Accelerated Deforestation and Conversion-Free Commitment

In 2023, Hershey accelerated its timing to achieve a deforestation and conversion-free supply chain for the cocoa, palm oil, pulp and paper (packaging), and direct soy we source by December 31, 2025 (previously 2030).

Our new Deforestation and Conversion-Free Policy is critical to delivering on our ambition to reduce value chain emissions and is aligned with requirements of the Science Based Targets initiative’s new Forest, Land and Agriculture Guidance (FLAG). With more than two-thirds of Hershey’s value chain emissions arising from agricultural sources, eliminating deforestation and land-use change (verified through satellite monitoring) and investing in agroforestry and reforestation projects are key to achieving our goal of 25% absolute reduction in Scope 3 greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2030 (against a 2018 baseline).

Harnessing the Power of Trees – Biodiversity Protection, Forest Conservation & Forest Restoration

Hershey also invests in protecting and conserving the standing forests neighboring our physical supply chain. We are supporting multi-year forest protection activities in intact forest areas that are home to endangered plant and animal species in Ghana, Côte d’Ivoire and Indonesia.

  • Kakum National Park: Since 2018, Hershey has monitored bird biodiversity in the Kakum Conservation Area, one of the most biologically rich forests in Ghana. Building on these efforts, in 2023, we worked with partners to design a program to protect both the biodiversity of this important habitat and the financial well-being of the people who live and farm nearby.
  • Mabi-Yaya Nature Reserve: In 2023, Hershey partnered with the Foundation for Parks and Reserves of Côte d’Ivoire on conservation efforts carried out by the Ivorian Office of Parks and Reserves in the Mabi-Yaya Nature Reserve. The partnership includes restoring forests on nearly 1,000 hectares of degraded lands within the Reserve’s boundaries, a mapping exercise of the Reserve’s flora and fauna, which includes a newly discovered population of chimpanzees, and equipping and training the Reserve’s rangers as they conduct anti-poaching and anti-encroachment activities.
  • Lobu Tayas Village Forest: Started in 2024, Hershey’s investment, enabled by the Forest Conservation Fund, empowers the people of Lobu Tayas to protect their local forest. The local community is currently securing land rights for over 12,000 hectares of forest in North Sumatra Province, Indonesia. Hershey’s funding will help with conservation activities including conducting biodiversity surveys, developing biodiversity management plans, and equipping patrol teams as they conduct anti-poaching and anti-encroachment activities.

Hershey is also proud of our tree-planting partnerships as part of our investment in agroforestry and reforestation efforts.

  • Arbor Day Foundation: Since 2017, Hershey’s partnership with the Arbor Day Foundation has restored forest habitats across the U.S., planting more than one million trees together, restoring more than 2,300 acres of forest. In 2023, our collaboration extended internationally to include the planting of 10,000 trees along the Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve in Mexico, reversing some of the destruction of monarch butterfly nesting sites by logging that threatens the species.
  • PUR: Agroforestry is a key climate adaptation strategy cocoa-growing communities can use to mitigate climate risks of extreme heat and water stress. Hershey, PUR and select cocoa-growing cooperatives are partnering to plant 1.2 million trees by the end of 2028 within our supply chain in Côte d’Ivoire with implementation starting this year.
  • Sustainable Dairy PA: Since 2021, Hershey, Land O'Lakes and the Alliance for Chesapeake Bay have partnered to plant 9,260 trees and create 45 acres of riparian forest habitats on our supplying dairy farms in Pennsylvania. This serves to mitigate and reduce GHG emissions and protects the Chesapeake Bay from nutrient pollution and water quality impacts.

Additional details on our progress and investments in forest conservation, tree planting and agroforestry work are included in our ESG Report.

From Commitments to Action 

We proudly contribute to combatting supply chain-driven deforestation and reducing its impact on farming landscapes. We recognize the work required ahead to ensure the long-term sustainability of our business and to do the right thing for our shared planet.