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Ensuring a Living Wage Across Hershey and Our Supply Chain

We believe that all individuals deserve the opportunity to earn a living wage and income, including all who  work for Hershey directly or make their living as part of our supply chain. Hershey recognizes the concepts of living wage and living income as human rights and that mandated minimum wages are not always sufficient to allow workers a basic, but decent standard of living that provides for adequate housing, food, access to education, childcare and savings for unexpected events.

In addition, within our extended supply chain, lack of income for small holder farmers is a root cause of poverty that increases the risk of other human rights violations such as child or forced labor as well as deforestation.

That’s why we are acting to maintain our strong pay practices within our Hershey operations including continuing to pay a living wage to full-time Hershey employees across our global locations. We are also establishing new partnerships and programming in our cocoa supply chain that will allow us to:

  • Directly measure farmer incomes on Cocoa For Good Farms in Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana to better target our programs and investments focused on improving incomes
  • Strengthen our engagement in the pre-competitive platforms and multi-stakeholder collaborations we feel are critical to enable an environment ultimately needed to promote a living income for cocoa farmers


Hershey Employees and Operations

Living wage is only one part of our larger companywide commitment to promote equity and build a more diverse and inclusive workplace. Competitive and fair pay plays a central role in this commitment, including the promotion of gender pay equity, where we currently have closed our gender pay gap with U.S. salaried women and people of color, in aggregate, earning dollar for dollar with male colleagues.

To incorporate a living wage into our approach to compensation for Hershey employees, we partnered with BSR to undertake an assessment of wages in our company operations. This assessment looked at all full-time Hershey employees across our global locations. All Hershey full time employees currently meet BSR’s living wage benchmarks in their respective locations.

To continue our commitment to paying Hershey employees a living wage, we will:

  • Review employee wages against the BSR benchmark on an annual basis and adjust any pay levels that would fall below the living wage level
  • Continue our efforts on promoting equity for people of color
  • Ensure that all regional compensation managers are trained on the concept of a living wage and that it is incorporated into our annual review process and wage requirements
  • Continue to assess the scope of our living wage efforts, relevant benchmarks and methodologies for measurement, which are continuing to evolve at both the national and international level
  • Continue to invest in the enabling environment and landscape initiatives, such as the Living Wage 4 US tool. To learn more about our living wage initiatives, please see our 2022 ESG Report.


Currently, more than 90,000 farmers participate in Hershey’s Cocoa For Good program, our global responsible cocoa strategy, through our suppliers across seven origin countries. Fundamental to our programming are investments focused on increasing assets and resilience, concepts we believe are directly connected to improving farmer income and livelihoods.

We continue to work on broader sustainable livelihood initiatives in Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana and are putting in place new partnerships and programs that will allow us to directly measure the incomes of farmers in our Cocoa For Good programs. This will allow us to better target our programs and investments focused on improving incomes, using benchmarks endorsed by the Living Income Community of Practice.

One of the programs recently initiated is our Income Accelerator, a multi-year program launching in Côte d’Ivoire in spring 2023. The Income Accelerator was developed following extensive research and consultations with farmers, Ivorian government authorities, cocoa farming and poverty alleviation experts and other local and international partners. It will support cocoa-farming communities through a multi-faceted approach focused on providing cash transfers to supplement farmer income, encouraging sustainable farm management practices and supporting community-based investment resources.

Beyond our investment in the Income Accelerator, we remain committed to our other activities in cocoa, which include:

  • Maintaining our commitments to 100% independently verified cocoa and paying premiums to farmer groups and farmers who successfully meet internationally recognized environmental and labor standards
  • 100% sourcing visibility by 2025 into the farmer groups in Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana participating through our suppliers in our Cocoa For Good program, which includes income diversification and professionalization of cooperatives
  • Investing in childhood nutrition, providing more than 50,000 children daily in cocoa-growing communities across Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana with our vitamin-fortified food supplement “ViVi”
  • Partnering with government institutions, civil society organizations and other industry partners to support the construction of schools and the provision of quality education for children
  • Supporting the global market research firm Ipsos to carry out monitoring and evaluation activities that include household income data for farmers covered by our Cocoa For Good programs — this baseline research will allow us to refine our income-based programming and work to improve farmer incomes
  • Continuing to support the current Living Income Differential (LID) established by the governments of Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana and requiring our suppliers to comply with paying the LID
  • Participating in the Living Income Community of Practice (LICOP), including supporting new research by LICOP and the Anker Research Network that will contribute to updated living income benchmarks in Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana along with five additional cocoa origins
  • Publishing and reporting on our progress via our website and annual ESG reports

Responsibly sourcing cocoa and prioritizing our human rights and environmental requirements calls for collaboration between local governments, our suppliers, farmers and manufacturers. Our commitment to improve farmer livelihoods and incomes is steadfast, and we will continue to drive our requirements and evolve as we learn to benefit farmers, their families and their communities.

Find out more about our approach in our Living Wage & Income Position Statement