hershey environment
A group of Hershey Company employees passionate about the environment analyzed office waste to discover recycling opportunities. Photo provided.

The Hershey Company has beat its own odds, exceeding three of its key environmental sustainability goals set in 2012. Hershey surpassed its water target three years early and its zero waste to landfill (ZWL) and recycling targets two years early.

Hershey planned to reduce water consumption per pound of product by 10 percent by 2015. It managed to cut water use by 58 percent by the end of 2012, far exceeding its objective.

The company converted six manufacturing facilities to ZWL by the end of 2013, achieving a recycling rate of 86.6 percent. The initial goal was to convert five plants to ZWL by 2015 and reach an 85 percent recycling rate.

Ambitious environmental goals were set and Hershey is proud of the progress it’s made, says Terry O’Day, senior v.p. and chief supply chain officer. “As a global company, we are conscious of our impact and the changes we can and must make to be a more sustainable organization.”

Water Reductions

The company’s progress on water was partly attributable to “Project Next Century,” which included the expansion of Hershey’s West Hershey manufacturing facility and the closure of its legacy 19 East Chocolate Ave. plant.

The transfer of operations to the modern, more efficient West Hershey facility produced significant water reductions. Hershey expects to decrease water consumption even further and will have more detailed results available in its third CSR report, available this spring.

Zero Waste to Landfill Progress

In addition to six manufacturing plants, five other Hershey facilities have achieved ZWL status. The six ZWL manufacturing plants represent 97 percent of Hershey’s U.S. production, 75 percent of all North American production and 67 percent of production globally.

Hershey’s combined ZWL plants and facilities as of Feb. 2014 are: Hazleton Plant, Reese’s Plant, West Hershey Plant, Y&S Plant, Robinson Plant, Stuarts Draft Plant, Hershey’s Chocolate World Attraction, Eastern Distribution Center III, Hershey Company Technical Center, Hershey Flight Operations, and Western Distribution Center.

“Given our faster-than-expected progress, we are pushing ourselves even harder and will set new environmental goals in our next CSR report using our 2013 numbers as our baseline,” adds O’Day.

Hershey’s next CSR report will outline 2013 progress against all of the company’s environmental goals, including reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, another high priority for Hershey.