I saw palm oil in some Hershey product but I can’t remember which one (Kisses, maybe?). But I wrote the usual email. Here’s their response.
Thank you for your recent inquiry regarding Palm Oil. We appreciate your interest in our business. Hershey is actively focused on building sustainable supply chains that benefit producers and growers while meeting our expectations for responsible production. We seek suppliers throughout our business that share our objectives and want to work with us to achieve them.
You can learn more about Hershey’s commitment to sustainability at the Corporate Social Responsibility section of our website at
We understand the many concerns related to unsustainable production of palm oil. That’s why Hershey exclusively purchases palm oil from from suppliers that are members of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO). RSPO was founded by the World Wildlife Federation and other organizations to promote the growth and use of sustainable palm oil.
RSPO defines its mission as advancing “the production, procurement and use of sustainable oil palm products through the development, implementation and verification of credible global standards and the engagement of stakeholders along the supply chain.”
You can learn more about sustainable palm oil at www.rspo.org
Thank you again for your interest in our company.
The RSPO is not perfect but it’s a step in the right direction and a direct link to help save the rainforests, so maybe Kisses will be back on my dessert menu.
Updated 2/8/14: Out of the blue (maybe I pressed them; don’t remember) I received this from Hershey. Skepticism is healthy but looks like Hershey is stepping up:
Thanks for sharing your concerns regarding certified palm oil. We want you know that The Hershey Company is committed to the highest standards in responsible and sustainable palm oil sourcing. In addition to achieving our commitment to source 100% mass balanced RSPO (Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil) certified palm oil by the beginning of 2014, a year ahead of our original 2015 commitment, we have also recently committed to achieve 100 percent traceable and sustainably sourced palm oil by the end of 2014.
Achieving 100 percent traceability in our palm oil sourcing is a significant commitment that puts Hershey at the forefront of global food companies in its efforts to ensure we are sourcing only sustainably grown palm oil that does not contribute to the destruction of wildlife habitat or negatively impact the environment.
We are now working closely with our suppliers and industry experts to ensure palm oil comes from sustainable sources. Starting in 2014, our suppliers will be required to independently verify that sources:
1. Do not contribute to deforestation or the destruction of wildlife habitat.
2. Do not clear high carbon stock forests.
3. Do not contribute to peat land expansion.
4. Operate in compliance with local laws and regulations (which includes appropriate labor standards).
The goal of these requirements is to identify palm oil producers that are engaging in unsustainable practices, work with our suppliers to remediate these actions, and, if necessary, find alternative suppliers.
In November 2013, Hershey’s palm oil sourcing efforts were recognized in the World Wildlife Fund’s 2013 Palm Oil Buyers Scorecard, where we scored 10 out of a possible 12 points. Our new traceability commitment elevates our sustainable palm oil sourcing approach even further.