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Hershey’s Commitment to Human Rights

The Hershey Company was founded on the principle of doing well by doing good.

The Hershey Company was founded on the principle of doing well by doing good. For more than 125 years, we have operated our business understanding that we are integral members of the communities where we live and work. Our Human Rights Policy outlines our commitment to respect human rights throughout our value chain and is part of our global sustainability strategy, the Shared Goodness Promise.

The Policy, guided by our saliency assessment, was developed in consultation with diverse internal and external stakeholders, including suppliers, human rights groups, nonprofit organizations working in our raw material value chains, government representatives, and labor organizations.

To learn more, read our policy, which is also available in French, Spanish, Chinese, Portuguese and Hindi.


Our Salient Issues

Our Human Rights Policy identifies and prioritizes the most significant human rights risks throughout our value chain. It has been developed using an intensive human rights saliency assessment that helps us better focus our policies and programs, so that we have the biggest impact on people touched by our business activities. We conducted our assessment in line with the UN Guiding Principles (UNGPs) on Business and Human Rights and with the assistance of an independent third party.

This process included:

  • Desk-based research, including a review of relevant internal policies and procedures, peer review benchmarking and a media scan
  • Internal and external stakeholder interviews, including a diverse cross-section of Hershey leaders as well as representatives from labor and nonprofit organizations, our suppliers, investors and governmental bodies
  • A workshop with internal and external stakeholders to review research findings and prioritize our list of salient issues
  • A stakeholder consultation process with the same group of internal and external stakeholders to review and refine our policy before it was formalized and launched
  • Review and approval by Hershey Company senior executives and Board of Directors

Read more about Hershey’s Human Rights due diligence >


Access to Grievance Mechanisms: Access to formal, legal and nonlegal/operational complaint processes for stakeholders throughout the entire value chain.

Deforestation: The effects of deforestation and land clearance on human rights.

Access to Water and Sanitation: Individuals are entitled to sufficient, safe, acceptable, physically accessible and affordable water for personal and domestic use and to sanitation services that fulfill certain criteria (such as being safe, physically accessible, and providing privacy and dignity).

Climate Change: The effects of climate change and the environment on health and human rights.

Women's Rights and Empowerment: The universality of all rights, including for women.

Living Wage and Income: A wage and or income level that allows all members of the household to afford a decent standard of living.

Forced Labor and Human Trafficking: As defined by the International Labour Organization (ILO), this includes work or service that is exacted from any person under the threat of a penalty and for which the person has not offered himself or herself voluntarily.

Child Labor: The worst forms of child labor as defined by the ILO conventions 138 and 182.

Safety and Health: To provide a safe and healthy workplace in line with applicable safety and health laws and regulations, in consultation with employees.

Land Rights and Acquisition: Customary land rights and associated processes for acquisition and development, particularly for farmers and indigenous populations.

Fastest-Growing Pretzel Brand Joins Hershey

Working Across Our Value Chain to Support the People Behind Our Products

In 2021, we continued to work diligently to further progress on cocoa, promote human rights and collaborate with industry partners to advance our living wage and income agendas.

Energizing Diversity and Inclusion at Hershey

The UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights require us to respect human rights in connection with our own operations and extended value chain. This includes looking at how we, The Hershey Company, could make the greatest impact on advancing inclusion in our workplace and our communities.

Read more about Hershey’s approach to diversity and inclusion

Learn more about our Responsible Sourcing Supplier Program

Strong Human Rights Governance

Human rights at Hershey are managed by our Global Sustainability team. This oversight includes senior leaders (Board and senior management) from across the business and the Sustainability team is led by the Senior Director of Global Sustainability. The day-to-day management of human rights is overseen by our Senior Manager for ESG & Human Rights and the implementation of human rights in our supply chain, including our agricultural supply chain, is overseen by our global Director for Responsible Sourcing and Head of Sustainable Sourcing.
All sustainability efforts, including human rights, are directly overseen by the Sustainability Steering Committee, which is comprised of vice presidents from across all major business functions. Ultimate oversight for human rights falls within our Board of Directors and our Executive Committee (which includes our CEO and the CEO’s direct reports) who are briefed on an annual and bi-annual basis, respectively.


Four children standing together playing instruments.

Supporting Human Rights During COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic underscored the importance of protecting and promoting human rights and the need to urgently deploy resources to those most impacted. We used the guidance of the UNGP to identify and help address broad COVID-19-related human rights vulnerabilities among our employees and workers in our supply chain, such as funding temporary wage incentives for several strategic co-manufacturers and co-packers. We also contracted medical staff on our suppliers’ behalf, bought medical scanning equipment and provided capital for suppliers to make infrastructure changes for social distancing. Find out more about how we supported employees, suppliers and communities through COVID-19.