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Human Rights Due Diligence

The Hershey Company is committed to protecting and respecting human rights, as outlined in our enterprise Human Rights Policy.  

Our approach to human rights due diligence is guided by the United Nations Guiding Principles (UNGPs) and is an ongoing risk management process that allows us to identify, prevent and mitigate human rights risks throughout our value chain.

Assessing and Identifying Risks

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

Hershey worked with the leading human rights nonprofit organization Verité to create a methodology that allows 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 identified risks and opportunities for programming that will inform our work for the next few years. We leveraged key data sources including U.S. Departments of State and Labor Reports, the UN Multidimensional Poverty Index, UN international migrant stock data, ITUC Global Rights Index and the UN Gender Inequality Index.

We use our risk methodology to:

  • Inform country of origin assessments for high- and medium-risk ingredients and materials, including cocoa, dairy, sugar cane and palm oil
  • Review supplier human rights and social compliance risks prior to entering into commercial relationships through our supplier selection and onboarding process
  • Prioritize supplier enrollment into the Hershey Responsible Sourcing Supplier Program

Read more about our work with Verité.


How we Implement Due Diligence Systems and Processes

Hershey Facilities and First-Tier Suppliers

Hershey conducts due diligence on our own facilities and on suppliers to assess compliance with our Company Code of Conduct and Supplier Code of Conduct as we advance our human rights commitments. Our human rights due diligence also includes worker voice models of engagement that allow us to hear directly from workers and other vulnerable populations. The Hershey Company Responsible Sourcing Supplier Program supports and engages our first-tier suppliers in enhancing their ability to promote human rights for their workers, within their workplaces and their overall supply chains.

Material and Ingredient Sourcing

Hershey has also laid out expectations for certain materials and ingredients that have inherent human rights challenges and social issues. These go beyond the requirements of our Supplier Code of Conduct and reflect our commitment to human rights and a transparent supply chain.

Learn more about our Responsible Sourcing Supplier Program

Learn more about our human rights due diligence in cocoa

Learn more about our support for due diligence in the European Union and elsewhere 


Mandatory Employee Training

Every year, Hershey employees must complete training and acknowledge the standards, guidelines and practices set out in our Code of Conduct, which includes a commitment to uphold human rights and fair employment practices. Our Code of Conduct also states that employees should not engage in human rights abuses or conduct business with those who do.

In addition, 100 percent of procurement professionals, international supply chain professionals, and our Licensing team are required to take and pass the Hershey Company Human Rights 101 training―a 40-minute e-learning session that covers topics such as the UNGPs; our salient human rights issues, including forced labor; purchasing practices; and how to be an internal champion for human rights. Available to all employees, this training is also added to employee learning plans across Human Resources and Manufacturing teams. Finally, through the Responsible Labor Initiative E-Learning Academy, we train Hershey buyers and managers of labor on identifying and preventing forced labor.

Read more about how we support supplier training and capability building

Grievance Mechanisms and Remedy

We’re committed to our values of Integrity and Excellence at every level of our business and throughout our supply chain. Our grievance mechanisms help ensure we are living up to our own expectations by inviting input from any stakeholders to identify potential issues or violations, increase transparency and promote continuous improvement.

  • The Hershey Company’s Concern Line (available in more than 47 languages) is a third-party monitored, independent service that is available to all individuals throughout our value chain. Concerns can be shared confidentially via phone or web at
  • Hershey’s Supplier Code of Conduct requires our suppliers to have grievance mechanisms that are verified via our Responsible Sourcing Supplier Program and our cocoa supplier sustainability assessment. We require and support our suppliers to put in place corrective actions related to identified grievances and validate this through our Responsible Sourcing Supplier Program.
  • We also support commodity-specific grievance mechanisms and remediation strategies such as our Palm Oil Grievance Policy and Child Labor Monitoring and Remediation Systems in Cocoa, as well as grievance mechanisms made available through certification bodies or standards setting organizations. 

Assessing Effectiveness and Continuous Improvement

Respecting human rights is a continuous effort, and we are committed to continuously reassessing and revising our approach considering new best practices, changes in the external environment and landscape, and the evolution of our business model and footprint. We will also continue to publish our responsible sourcing efforts on our corporate website, as well as in our annual sustainability reports.