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Hershey's Commitment to Human Rights

The Hershey Company was founded on the principle of doing well by doing good and for more than 125 years, we have operated our business understanding that we are integral members of the communities where we live and work. The Hershey Company’s 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.

Our human rights policy is guided by our saliency assessment and 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 amongst others.

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

Our 2019 Progress

We’ve made substantial progress in the goals we set in 2019. Specifically, we:

  • Our human rights policy is now available in six different languages on our company website.
  • When launching our policy internally, we provided in-depth briefings to all of our international general managers on the content, had our CEO emphasize the importance of the policy at a companywide Town Hall that was recorded for future viewings, and provided in depth presentations for various teams, including all of procurement.
  • We provided the policy, talking points and a leadership guide to all people managers via our internal leader newsletter and integrated human rights into employee orientation.
  • We developed an e-learning module that covers the UNGPs, Hershey’s salient issues, some high-level considerations for human rights and purchasing practices, and how to be an internal champion for human rights. This e-learning is now available for all employees via our internal learning system.

  • We worked with the leading human rights nonprofit organization, Verité, to create a methodology that would allow 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 better identified risks and opportunities for programming over the next few years.
  • We leveraged key data sources including U.S. Department of State and Labor Reports, The UN Multi-dimensional poverty Index, UN Migrant stock data, ITUC Global Rights Index, and the UN Gender Inequality Index, among others.
  • We commissioned commodity reports from Verité on Soy and Sugar, and human rights country risk reports on Malaysia, Mexico, and Brazil.
  • Once finalized, we created a methodology to develop a risk tool for segmenting our Tier 1 suppliers that takes into account multiple dimensions of human rights risk. Read more about our work with Verité here.

  • Using our risk tool, we assessed all of our Tier 1 raw material and packing suppliers as well as co-manufacturers, co-packers, licensees, and labor service providers and developed a prioritized list for supplier due diligence.
  • We updated our Supplier Code of Conduct to better take into consideration our new human rights and environmental policies and to address our salient human rights issues.
  • To strengthen our Code, we engaged multiple external stakeholders including Verité, various NGOs including labor rights and human rights organizations, suppliers and peer companies in early reviews and feedback.
  • We held a workshop with Verité to discuss how best to ensure compliance with our code, engage suppliers beyond Tier 1, and work towards worker-centric forms of feedback that go beyond traditional compliance measures.
  • We are designing a supplier guidebook which describes many of the approaches we learned from our work with Verité and other stakeholders.


  • We further strengthened our efforts to combat child labor by introducing the Child Labor Monitoring and Remediation System (CLMRS) through our suppliers on Cocoa For Good farms and their local communities in Cote d’Ivoire and Ghana.
  • CLMRS is the leading method of detection and remediation of child labor amongst children aged 15-17 and was developed through the International Cocoa Initiative (ICI).
  • We are encouraged by the early, but positive, impact of CLMRS and the scalability this system can have. Read more about our CLMRS work.


  • We continued our work in 2019 towards achieving a traceable palm oil supply chain, which allows us to further identify human rights risks and partner with our suppliers to address them.
  • Our palm work during the past year included engagement with Earthworm Foundation to continue mapping our palm oil supply chain, developing a public grievance log, and deepening engagement with suppliers through Earthworm Foundation’s Engagement Policy Implementation (EPI) tool, to better understand and support their commitments and progress towards achieving a No Deforestation, No Peat Development, No Exploitation (NDPE) palm oil supply chain as required by Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil standards and by our Responsible Palm Oil Sourcing Policy.

Read more about our efforts in Palm here.

Our 2020 Goals

Our 2020 Goals

We will continue engage with key stakeholders to elevate our work to promote human rights across Hershey’s entire value chain and in the CPG industry. In 2020, we will:

  • Expand work to address child labor in cocoa: Magnify our Cocoa For Good efforts to prevent, detect and remediate children found in Child Labor.
  • Formally integrate human rights into supply chain due diligence: Launch our newly revised Responsible Sourcing Tier 1 Supplier program including communicating our new supplier code of conduct and working towards our goal of enrolling 100% of high-risk suppliers by 2021.
  • Conduct employee training & awareness: Train 100% of our procurement professionals on human rights by 2021 and continue the roll out of our all-employee human rights training program.
  • Strengthen our efforts to address Forced Labor & Ethical Recruitment: Following the guidance of the Employer Pays and Priority industry principles, develop and communicate more specific expectations for labor service providers in our value chain, and pilot different approaches to verification.

For additional insights into our Human Rights work:

Human Rights Saliency Assessment

Our human rights policy is guided identified and prioritized the most significant human rights risks to individuals throughout our value chain through a Human Rights Saliency assessment so we can better focus our policies and programs that have the biggest impact on people touched by our business activities. We conducted our assessment in line with the UN Guiding Principles Reporting Framework and with the assistance of an independent third party, Flag, which works with us on our ESG reporting.

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
  • An extensive review and approval process with the Hershey Company Executive team and Board of Directors

Salient Human Rights Issues


Salient Issues

Salient Issue Definitions


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

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Access to Water and Sanitation: Access to sufficient, safe, accessible, physically accessible, and affordable water and sanitation services for personal and domestic use.

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

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

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

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Forced Labor and Human Trafficking: As defined by the ILO including work or service which is exacted from any person under the threat of a penalty and for which the person has not offered himself or herself voluntarily.

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

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

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

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


In addition to our salient issues we also identified children’s rights and environmental health and justice as two additional issues to closely monitor as they are likely to grow in importance in the near-term.

We will continue to share updates on our goals and human rights activities via our website, our Slavery and Human Trafficking Statement, and our annual sustainability report.

Partnerships & Collaboration

We recognize that many of our salient human rights issues stem from socio-economic and cultural barriers that no one company or organization alone can solve. Our partnerships with nonprofit organizations and pre-competitive industry collaborations play a critical role in informing, implementing and evolving our human rights policies and programs. Some of our key collaborations include:


Our Global Sustainability Team manages human rights at Hershey. This includes senior leaders (Board and senior management) from across the business and is led by the Senior Director of Global Sustainability. The day to day management of human rights is overseen by our global head of Human Rights and the implementation of human rights in our value chain is overseen by our global Director for Responsible 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.

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