FINDING YOUR CSR PATH – JUST FOLLOW THE BREADCRUMBS

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Jeff King
Sr. Director Sustainability, CSR, and Social Innovation

Finding focus in CSR can be challenging.  Let’s be honest, almost all projects are worthwhile, because doing good is ... well, doing good.  But it is important to find a focus and chart your path because while companies have great capacity for doing good, we live in a world of limited financial and people resources.  As much as we may want to, we can’t work on every issue. 

Hershey has a distinct advantage in tackling this challenge: a century-long legacy of business success and a history making a difference in the world, underpinned by a founder who was committed to “doing well by doing good.”  Milton Hershey started The Hershey Company almost 125 years ago as the original purpose-driven company.  He used the profits from his successful business to build the town of Hershey, Pennsylvania, so he could improve the lives of his employees; used innovative methods like cogeneration to power his factories, protecting the environment; and eventually left his fortune in trust to fund a school that would forever help give underprivileged children the support needed to succeed in life.This is Shared Goodness

We’ve used these legacy cornerstones, took a hard look at who we are, where we came from and more importantly what was needed to move forward in today’s world, and created a new CSR strategy we call our Shared Goodness Promise.  It’s a promise that brings our brands, business models and people together towards making a difference in the world, being better stewards of the planet we all share, building thriving communities where we live and work, and perhaps most near and dear to our hearts, nourishing children so they can learn, grow and thrive. The key tenants of this new strategy include: 

  • Shared Futures - Nourishing the minds of children. We’ve been giving children the chance at a brighter future for over 100 years through the Milton Hershey School, and we are extending that work to impact more children by working with non-profits in the U.S., India, across our supply chain in Africa and around the world to make sure schoolchildren have the nutritious food, life-skill and educational support they need to perform their best in the classroom and in life.
  • Shared Business - Making investments that make a difference. As we grow, the new brands and businesses we invest in will offer customers not just more choice, but more transparency. We are also investing in our supply chain and farmer livelihoods, through our Cocoa For Good program and our commitment to 100% certified and sustainable cocoa by 2020.
  • Shared Communities - Building thriving communities. The happiest communities are those where all members can thrive and Hershey has always been a community-focused company. Our new strategy helps communities succeed by supporting their basic needs, improving education and advancing community development to be enjoyed by all. 
  • Shared Planet - Taking care of our planet. Reducing our environmental impact isn’t just the right thing to do, it’s the smart thing to do. For example: the best, tastiest and highest-quality cocoa comes from vibrant ecosystems with lots of tree cover. So, our responsibility – to both our planet and our business – is to ensure the forests are preserved and rehabilitated so they are there for the next 100 years and beyond.
  • All our great work is made possible by our remarkable employees. Our employees are truly remarkable, and we rely on them for all of our work whether that’s reducing packaging waste, helping to deliver training to farmers in our supply chain or developing partnerships in our communities.

We believe that our Shared Goodness Promise is a continuation of the same path first established by our founder and we hold ourselves accountable to uphold those legacy values, but we also move forward with renewed focus and stronger intent to shape the company’s impact on the world.  With a focus on children as our future, our business as a force for change, helping ensure everyone thrives in our communities, and doing our part to preserve the planet, it is our clearest map for doing good in the world. 

The path was always there, we just had to follow the breadcrumbs.     

Read more about our strategy, and the milestones we reached in 2017, in our new Shared Goodness Report.

 

 

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