How we work with Hershey on Palm Oil
The Forest Trust (TFT) has partnered with The Hershey Company to achieve a traceable supply chain by helping identify where they source their palm oil and to respond more swiftly to grievances and issues of noncompliance. We also help them identify priority topics with each direct supplier and to engage them in order to drive continuous improvement and develop and carry out action plans to resolve any open grievances. All of this work ultimately supports Hershey’s efforts to drive transformation on the ground, specifically in a priority landscape within Hershey’s supply, the highly bio-diverse Leuser Ecosystem in Indonesia.
Hershey’s sustainable palm oil commitment extends to their suppliers globally across their supply chain. As such, they have taken action when grievances and noncompliance come to light, including in March 2016 when the RSPO suspended its certification of IOI Group and its downstream subsidiaries. In response, Hershey suspended orders of palm oil and palm derivatives from the IOI Group subsidiary in its supply chain. During that time, Hershey engaged with IOI Group and monitored their actions, including their development of their Sustainable Palm Oil Policy and Sustainability Implementation Plan, its follow-through on the complaint, and its progress on addressing labour rights issues.
Hershey made the decision to re-engage in 2017 after seeing tangible signs of improvement and in light of IOI Group regaining RSPO certification. Hershey continues to monitor their progress against the implementation plan and will regularly follow up to ensure continued progress and adherence to its sustainability commitments.
Such responses to grievances are all part of an on-going process in which Hershey carefully evaluates its supplier relationships as information on grievances arise. In such cases, TFT supports Hershey in reviewing grievance information and following up with suppliers to understand the actions they are taking to address them.
In late 2016, The Hershey Company built on their commitment to responsible palm oil sourcing after mapping out their supply chain and identifying an area in the Aceh region of Indonesia where palm oil suppliers need additional support to implement sustainable practices. They partnered with a palm oil refiner company to support a training workshop on sustainable palm oil practices for their supplying mills in the area, to help mills and growers understand steps they can take to address key issues in their supply chains.
This training focused on critical topics such as protecting high conservation and high carbon stock forests, which are important for mitigating climate change and protecting endangered species, as well as on respecting the rights of local communities. These issues are particularly important in Aceh, given the region’s overlap with the Leuser Ecosystem, a highly biodiverse area home to endangered species such as Sumatran orangutans, elephants and tigers as well as indigenous communities.