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.

To learn more, read our policy.

For additional insights into our Human Rights work:

Salient Human Rights Issues


Salient Issues

Human Rights Saliency Assessment

We identified and prioritized the most significant human rights risks to individuals throughout our value chain so we can better focus our policies and programs that have the biggest impact on people touched by our business activities.

Our first Human Rights Saliency assessment in 2018 helped us prioritize the company’s most pressing human rights issues. We conducted our assessment in line with the UN Guiding Principles Reporting Framework and with the assistance of an independent third party. 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.

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.

2019 Human Rights Programming and Goals

Respecting human rights is a journey, and our approach and management of human rights issues will evolve and mature. To uphold our human rights commitments, Hershey is developing and implementing the following activities in 2019.

  • Further analysis of salient Issues: We will conduct further research and analysis of our salient issues in priority value chains and geographies to deepen our understanding of risks and opportunities for impact. This research will inform and prioritize KPIs and action plans for future program work.
  • Build employee awareness and understanding of human rights across the enterprise: We will communicate our new human rights policy to all Hershey employees and begin integrating human rights training into employee orientation and onboarding programs. We will identify specific training needs and begin to develop training programs for key functions such as procurement & manufacturing, amongst others.
  • Update our Supplier Code of Conduct: We will revisit our supplier code of conduct in light of our saliency assessment and review our requirements on topics such as ethical recruitment practices, access to grievance mechanisms, and supplier diversity amongst others.
  • Strengthen our social audit program: We will strengthen our supplier social audit program in light of our saliency assessment by revisiting risk criteria

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 from across the business and is led by the Senior Director of Global Sustainability. 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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