HERSHEY, Pa. — The Hershey Co. is making measurable progress on its environmental, social and governance (ESG) impact goals.
As outlined in its 2021 ESG Report, the candy and snack maker recently launched a handful of initiatives, including a third utility-scale solar project, energy and water optimization investments, and continued progress addressing land use change.
In doing so, Hershey reduced its Scope 1 and 2 emissions by 48%, and Scope 3 emissions by 18% against a 2018 baseline. As part of its science-based targets, Hershey aims to reduce Scope 1 and 2 emissions by 50%, and Scope 3 by 25% by 2030.
Investing in renewable energy
Hershey and National Grid Renewables entered into a 140-megawatt Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) for the Copperhead Solar & Storage Project in Falls County, Texas, in November. The project is expected to produce an estimated $25 million in direct economic impact throughout its first 25 years of operation, including the production of new tax revenue, onsite operations jobs and the creation of a charitable fund estimated at $600,000.
This is Hershey's third solar PPA. The company's second project with National Grid Renewables, Noble Solar & Storage, is located in Denton County, Texas.
"Investment in renewable energy is pushing us closer to achieving our ambitious science-based targets," said Mark Kline, director, commodities & specialty procurement at The Hershey Co. "The impact of these three solar projects will be equal to taking nearly 79,000 gas-powered vehicles off the road per year."
Reducing energy and water use
At the company's headquarters in Hershey and in manufacturing facilities around the world, a $3 million investment for energy optimization includes systems to report real-time utility usage data for electricity, natural gas and water. Most of these systems will be installed in U.S. facilities by the end of this year and in international facilities in 2023.
In 2021, Hershey invested nearly $1.5 million in high-efficient equipment and adjusted operating procedures to reduce well water usage. These recent environmental investments also help to reduce operating costs: 77% of the company's electricity consumption in 2021 was renewable or zero-emissions energy.
The investment in real-time utility usage data is expected to uncover additional energy saving opportunities and help to reduce Hershey's energy intensity by approximately 10 percent over the next five years, according to the company.
Addressing land use change is a significant part of Hershey's climate action plans. The company is committed to eliminating commodity-driven deforestation from its supply chain by 2030. Through its sustainable cocoa strategy, Cocoa For Good, the candy and snack maker supports cocoa farmers through education on income diversification and climate-smart cocoa practices as the risks of climate change loom large for communities in West Africa.
In 2021, 41% of Cocoa For Good farmers in Côte d'Ivoire and Ghana were trained on climate-smart cocoa using a curriculum Hershey helped to develop alongside partners.
In addition to reducing operating costs across Scope 1 and 2, the company is minimizing environmental impact and restoring ecosystems preserves, and strengthening resources while fostering sustainable agricultural communities for generations to come. Across its value chain, Hershey is extending its expertise and working with partners for the long-term success and resiliency of those reliant on its business and for the next generation, the company stated.
"Solving daunting issues like the impacts of climate change requires cross-industry collaboration. We are committed to partnering with others to achieve the impact we strive for. We know we don't have all the answers and our work continues, but are proud of the progress made so far," said The Hershey Co. vice-president of global sustainability and corporate communications Leigh Horner.
Hershey's 2021 ESG Report is available here.
Pennsylvania-based The Hershey Co. has more than 100 brand names in approximately 80 countries that drive more than $8.9 billion in annual revenues, including such iconic brand names as Hershey's, Reese's, Kit Kat, Jolly Rancher, Ice Breakers, SkinnyPop, Pirate's Booty and Dot's Homestyle Pretzels.
Hershey Canada was recently recognized as one Canada's Top 100 Employers (2023) and Greater Toronto's Top Employers (2022).
-Originally published by Convenience Store News U.S., with files from CSNC