We make choices every day. Hit the snooze again, what do I wear today, where do I eat lunch, latte or cappuccino, paper or plastic? And so on and so on. We probably make thousands of choices every day. The same thing happens when we think about choosing where we work, what kind of work will I do, where do I want to live and is the company located there? Pay and benefits are important, of course, but another choice is “do I identify with the values of the company?” Company values were a big determinant for why I came to Hershey and I know for many people I work with, it was important to them as well.
Hershey is one of those stories about a man who built a company and a company that built a town. Our company founder Milton Hershey built our hometown of Hershey, Pennsylvania, on the premise that people who work for the company should live in a community that enriches their lives and provides a great environment to raise their families. This was a bold choice to invest significant time and resources into both the business and the community, typifying the industrialist/philanthropist of the late 1800s and early 1900s. That culture of investing in community has been a critical part of the DNA of our company for more than 100 years.
As the leader of Hershey’s social purpose and corporate citizenship programs, I am proud that our company has once again been chosen on the annual Points of Light Civic 50 list for 2016. The Civic 50 recognizes companies for using their time, talent, and resources to improve the quality of life in communities where they do business.
Some of our other notable community engagement accomplishments in 2015 include launching our “Nourishing Minds” shared social purpose initiative to provide children with the basic nutrition they need to build bright futures and successful lives
- This includes launching “Energize Learning” in Ghana, which is providing ViVi, a vitamin and mineral-fortified supplement, to 50,000 children each day
- Starting a new child hunger partnership with Feeding America including support for programs like Backpack and Kids Café
- Donating $20.7 million in cash and products to 1,300 organizations around the world
- Community volunteering: 2,300 employees volunteered 98,250 hours in their communities
- Expanding our corporate week of service “Good to Give Back Week’ beyond the U.S. to encompass more of our global locations, with events in India, the Philippines, Mexico and China
I encourage you to read more about our social purpose, community and sustainability programs in our latest CSR Report, which we published last month.
We recognize that we’ve inherited a very high standard set by Milton Hershey. We have different issues to address versus 100 years ago in our social efforts: greater community need than ever; how do we scale and grow activities for social impact stretching programs across multiple continents; addressing environmental stewardship responsibilities; coordinating activities across multiple stakeholders including governments, NGOs, and activists – all in a global business environment with competing company priorities and resources.
We know we have a lot of work ahead to address these challenges and continue to make choices that are responsible, both to our shareholders and as a corporate global citizen to the broader world at large. I’m proud to say that I believe the Hershey Company continues to make the “harder right choice,” resulting in our Shared Goodness promise of Good Business, Better Life and Bright Futures.
I’m optimistic about our future to drive social change and impact as we move our business forward. I think our founder would agree.
This piece is from Jeff King's blog post Doing Well by Doing Good is A Lot More Than the Bottom Line. King is the Sr. Director Sustainability, CSR, and Social Innovation at The Hershey Company.