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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 & income, including the remarkable and diverse group of people who work at The Hershey Company and the many individuals who make their living within our broader supply chain. Living wage and living income are basic human rights. Mandated minimum wages are not always sufficient to allow workers a basic, but decent, standard of living including but not limited to adequate housing, food, access to education, childcare and savings for unexpected events. Furthermore, within our extended supply chain, lack of income is a root cause of poverty, which increases the risk of other human rights violations such as child or forced labor, as well as deforestation.

We are taking action to maintain our strong pay practices in our own operations and focus our work in areas where we see the largest vulnerability and where Hershey has significant leverage, influence, and responsibility. As a result, we continue to prioritize work in the following areas: 

  • Maintaining our commitment to pay a living wage to all full-time employees globally
  • Programming and investments focused on measuring and improving incomes of farmers
  • Strengthening our engagement in the pre-competitive platforms and multi-stakeholder collaborations that we feel are critical to enable an environment necessary for promoting a living wage and income in our supply chain


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 full-time employee wages against the living wage benchmarks 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
  • 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 and the WageMap Consortium. To learn more about our living wage initiatives, please see our 2022 ESG Report.


At Hershey, we envision a world where cocoa farmers and their families can live healthy, prosperous lives and where cocoa communities and ecosystems thrive for generations to come. Currently, around 120,000 farmers participate in Hershey’s Cocoa For Good program, which seeks to create the best outcomes for farmers, their families and the communities throughout our supply chain. Fundamental to our programing are investments focused on increasing assets and resilience, concepts we believe are directly connected to increasing farmer income and reducing poverty, which is a root cause of issues like child labor and deforestation. As a result, since 2018 we have gone beyond our 100% independently verified cocoa commitment to support broader sustainable livelihood initiatives in Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana. These efforts include improving crop yields, working on land tenure titling, generating alternative income on-farm and off-farm, financial literacy training, supporting the establishment of village savings and loan associations (VSLAs), investing in schools and classrooms, and training on gender awareness.

To further our work on farmer income, we recently launched our Income Accelerator in Côte d’Ivoire. The development of our Income Accelerator was directly informed by results from living income research conducted with IPSOS in 2021 . In addition, Hershey held consultations with the Ivorian government, farmer groups and other local and international partners to further inform programming. The Income Accelerator is a five-year program that is being implemented in partnership with Rainforest Alliance and CARE and is focused on two strategies: the provision of cash transfers to supplement farmer income, and investment in VSLAs. Learn more here.

In addition to our Income Accelerator, we support living income in cocoa by:

  • Continuing to support the Living Income Differential (LID) established by the governments of Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana and requiring our suppliers to comply with paying the LID.
  • 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.
  • Through the Côte d’Ivoire-Ghana Cocoa Initiative (CIGCI), joining peers in signing the Joint Statement of Intent, a commitment to accelerate the move towards living income and long-term sustainability for cocoa

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