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Ahold and The Hershey Co. have made repeat appearances on the 2014 Dow Jones Sustainability Indices (DJSI), which track the performance of top companies around the globe in terms of economic, environmental and social criteria.
Both Hershey and Ahold are among several other food industry companies to rank on what is considered one of the most highly regarded global sustainability benchmarks rankings. Amsterdam-based Ahold scored an average of 75 out of 100 in the Food & Staples Retailing sector in 2014, edging ahead of the 74 score it garnered in 2013 and compared with an industry average of 48. The sector lead, Australia's Woolworths Ltd, scored 76. This is the sixth straight year that Ahold has been included on the DJSI.
The international retail conglomerate earned especially high marks in such areas as supply chain management practices, carbon emissions and waste reduction programs, as well as its contributions to associates' health and safety through various initiatives.
"Responsible retailing is a fundamental element of our Reshaping Retail strategy and [this] recognition, which should make all of our 220,000 associates proud, fuels our ambition to be a better place to shop, a better place to work and a better neighbor, every day," noted Ahold CEO Dick Boer.
Hershey's Cocoalink a Success
Appearing for the second time in the World Index, Hershey was one of only 13 companies from the food, beverage and tobacco Industry, ranking in the 93rd percentile overall. The occasion also marked the third year in a row Hershey has been included in the North America Index.
Over the past few years, the Pennsylvania-based confectioner has significantly improved its environmental sustainability and sustainable sourcing efforts, completing many of its long-range goals and phased commitments ahead of time. Its notable improvements include 72 percent water reduction, 38 percent waste reduction, 23 percent greenhouse gas emissions reduction, a corporate-wide recycling rate of 87 percent, and a total of 12 Zero Waste to Landfill (ZWL) facilities.
In the realm of sustainable sourcing, Hershey's Cocoalink mobile technology program has enrolled about 45,000 Ghanaian cocoa farmers, and farmers in Cocoalink communities increased their yields by 45.6 percent in three years. Based on this success, Hershey plans to expand the initiative to cocoa-growing regions in Côte d’Ivoire.
Hershey also pledged to purchase 100 percent traceable and sustainably sourced palm oil late last year after revealing that it had achieved 100 percent mass balanced RSPO certified palm oil a year ahead of schedule.
"Hershey's inclusion in the North America and World Index … is clear validation that our accomplishments in a wide range of CSR areas, from environmental sustainability to ethical sourcing, are recognized within the sustainability community," noted Terry O'Day, the company's SVP chief supply chain officer.
Also appearing in the ranking are consumer goods manufacturer Unilever NV, which has appeared in the World Index since the advent of the DJSI; pharmaceutical company Bayer AG; and alcoholic beverages company Diageo PLC.
The DJSI launched in 1999 as the first global sustainability benchmarks.