Making a Difference is the main driver in my life, and I love that it is one of Hershey’s values too! Growing up in the densely populated San Joaquin Valley of California, I experienced visible and apparent environmental impacts. Throughout the summer, I could see smog covering the once viewable mountain ranges, there was frequent “spare the air” days due to unhealthy air quality, and about eight months of the year with very little rain.
The San Joaquin Valley was much different than the writings of the famous naturalist John Muir, who wrote only 150-years prior that it was the “floweriest piece of the world.” This was hard to imagine, but occasionally I saw glimpses of that beauty in undeveloped residential lots, which were magical moments for me. Although these lots were small, they were at times, full of biodiversity, which instilled in me the philosophy that every act of conservation can make a positive difference.
From wildflowers and butterflies to cocoa trees and sugar cane, all of us rely on a healthy earth, and I’m excited to be part of Hershey’s efforts to create more moments of goodness through environmental stewardship.
Collaborating across industries to reduce Hershey’s environmental impact
At Hershey, we have set ambitious science-based targets to reduce our greenhouse gas footprint aligned with the 1.5°C temperature pathways for a better future. To meet these goals, we are investing in renewable energy, strengthening on-farm sustainability, and ending deforestation across our supply chain. I’m excited to be a part of establishing meaningful actions towards our targets and advancing sustainability within our facilities and value chain.
Joining Hershey in May 2021, I would describe myself as focused on strategic alignments, nature-based solutions and collective action that advances sustainable development and helps strengthen communities. That’s why I also love Hershey’s value of Togetherness. Working collaboratively always results in a more meaningful and greater impact. Through partnerships with the Arbor Day Foundation, the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay, and the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, we are planting thousands of trees for reforestation projects on public lands as well as on the same dairy farms that provide fresh milk for Hershey’s milk chocolate; improving water quality; and supporting environmental education for the next generation of Baysavers.
Planting native trees and protecting the Chesapeake Bay watershed
Earlier this month, I had the opportunity to join with Hershey volunteers to plant more than 75 native trees at Hershey’s Tech Center campus with the goal of delivering environmental benefits for decades to come. These trees will filter more than 1.2 million gallons of stormwater and absorb over 200,000 lbs. of CO2 over their lifetimes. In addition, the team will be planting a native wildflowers and grasses for pollinators in 2022, contributing to the betterment of the environment and pollinator health. I want to thank all those involved in making this happen!
Hershey volunteers will also be planting 600 trees in early November on the property of a dairy farmer in Lancaster County, Pa., as part of our partnership with Land O’Lakes and the Alliance of the Chesapeake Bay. Through this partnership, we are planting riparian forest buffers to protect streams on dairy farms supplying to Hershey. But this is not all we are doing for the Chesapeake Bay. This year marks the 25th year of supporting the Chesapeake Bay Foundation’s Educational Programs, which provide meaningful watershed experiences for thousands of students. Also, annually we support large scale reforestation projects in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed and beyond through our partnership with the Arbor Day Foundation.
These are only a few of the many programs we are undertaking to protect our environment and make the world a better place, but every effort is important as we work hard towards achieving our sustainability goals.
Together, with our partners, we are making a difference for more sustainable future.