Skip to main content

Human Rights Due Diligence

Hershey is committed to protecting and respecting human rights, as outlined in our enterprise Human Rights Policy.  

Informed by the United Nations Guiding Principles (UNGPs), our approach to Human Rights Due Diligence (HRDD) is an ongoing risk management process that allows us to identify, prevent and mitigate human rights risks throughout our value chain.

Learn more about our HRDD approach in our Statement Against Slavery and Human Trafficking

Assessing and Identifying Risks

Hershey is committed to making more moments of goodness from the consumer, all the way down to the farmer and beyond. This is central to our Human Rights Policy which outlines our commitment to respect human rights throughout our value chain.

Hershey worked with the leading human rights nonprofit organization Verité to create a methodology that allows us to map current and future human rights risk across our key value chains and geographic footprint. Using a set of indicators from more than 12 external data sources, along with Verité’s own research, we identified risks and opportunities for programming that will inform our work for the next few years.

We use our risk methodology to:

  • Inform country of origin assessments for high- and medium-risk ingredients and materials, including cocoa, dairy, sugar cane, palm oil and pulp and paper packaging
  • Review supplier human rights and social compliance risks prior to entering into commercial relationships through our supplier selection and onboarding process
  • Prioritize supplier enrollment into the Hershey Responsible Sourcing Supplier Program

Read more about our work with Verité.


How we Implement Due Diligence Systems and Processes

Hershey Facilities and Tier 1 Suppliers

Hershey conducts human rights due diligence, using Sedex’s SMETA 4-Pillar audit standard, on our own facilities and on Tier 1 suppliers to assess compliance with our Company Code of Conduct and Supplier Code of Conduct. Our HRDD approach also includes worker voice models of engagement that allow us to hear directly from workers and other vulnerable populations. Hershey’s Responsible Sourcing Supplier Program and Responsible Recruitment Program supports and engages our Tier 1 suppliers in enhancing their ability to promote human rights for their workers, within their workplaces and their overall supply chains.

Learn more about our Responsible Sourcing Supplier Program and Responsible Recruitment Program

Material and Ingredient Sourcing

Hershey has laid out expectations for certain priority ingredients and materials that have inherent human rights challenges and social issues. These go beyond the requirements of our Supplier Code of Conduct and reflect our commitment to human rights and a transparent supply chain.

Learn more about our work in Priority Ingredients and Materials

Learn more about our support for due diligence in the European Union and elsewhere


Mandatory Employee Training

Every year, Hershey employees must complete training and acknowledge the standards, guidelines and practices set out in our Code of Conduct, including a commitment to uphold human rights and fair employment practices. Our Code of Conduct also states that employees should not engage in human rights abuses or conduct business with those who do.

In addition, procurement professionals, international supply chain professionals, and our Licensing team are required to take and pass Hershey’s Human Rights 101 training―a 40-minute e-learning session that covers topics such as the UNGPs; our salient human rights issues; purchasing practices; and how to be an internal champion for human rights. Available to all employees, this training is also added to employee learning plans across Human Resources and Manufacturing teams. Finally, through the Responsible Labor Initiative E-Learning Academy, we train Hershey buyers and managers of labor on identifying and preventing forced labor.

Read more about how we support supplier training and capability building

Grievance Mechanisms and Remedy

We’re committed to our values of Integrity and Excellence at every level of our business and throughout our supply chain. Our grievance mechanisms help ensure we are living up to our own expectations by inviting input from any stakeholders to identify potential issues or violations, increase transparency and promote continuous improvement.

  • Hershey’s Concern Line (available in more than 47 languages) is a third-party monitored, independent service that is available to all individuals throughout our value chain. Concerns can be shared confidentially and anonymously via phone or web at We also support commodity-specific grievance mechanisms and remediation strategies such as our Palm Oil Grievance Policy and Child Labor Monitoring and Remediation Systems in Cocoa, and grievance mechanisms made available through certification bodies or standards setting organizations.
  • Hershey’s Supplier Code of Conduct requires our suppliers to have grievance mechanisms that are verified via our Responsible Sourcing Supplier Program and our cocoa supplier sustainability assessment. Those who report grievances in good faith are free from retaliation and retribution. Our mechanisms do not prevent complainants from using other channels or procedures, such as local law enforcement agencies, to resolve their issue where relevant. We also partner with other organizations to help prevent, mitigate and remedy adverse human rights impacts.

Assessing Effectiveness and Continuous Improvement

Respecting human rights is a continuous effort, and we are committed to continuously reassessing and revising our approach considering new best practices, changes in the external environment and landscape, and the evolution of our business model and footprint. We will also continue to publish our responsible sourcing efforts on our corporate website, as well as in our annual ESG reports.

Salient Issues