The Hershey Company has joined the advisory council of a new non-profit organization – the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB) - that aims to develop industry-wide standards on sustainability.
The newly formed SASB aims to develop and publicize sustainability accounting standards for 89 industries in total. Hershey has been tasked with helping develop reporting standards for the wider food and beverage industry.
Todd Camp, Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) director for the Hershey Company, told ConfectioneryNews.com that the firm is honored to be invited onto the advisory council of SASB.
“We believe this work will also help us assess and evaluate our own sustainability transparency”, Camp said.
SASB the future?
Camp said Hershey believed SASB has the potential to become the recognized reporting standard on sustainability issues.
“Since SASB is not taking a ‘one size fits all’ approach, but rather one that is tailored to meet the needs and unique aspects of each industry, we feel that this will ease adoption,” he said.
The CSR director said that Hershey hopes the majority of companies within the confectionery sector will adopt the standards so that consumers, customers and investors have access to comparable and understandable sustainability information.
“If these standards do become commonplace for various industries, it will strongly encourage companies to consider all facets of good sustainability in a more holistic manner. It will also encourage innovation and rapid sharing of good practices,” he added.
Ssustainability transparency in today’s market is “critical”, the CSR director said.
“Stakeholder expectations for disclosure and communication are just as high as for sustainability efforts.”
Consumers and investors driving the need
Camp said there are two factors driving the need for sustainability standards and increased transparency – consumers and investors.
“Consumers are increasingly concerned with what a brand or company stands for – and if given a choice between a brand that they view as sustainable versus one that they do not consider sustainable, recent studies show that the large majority of consumers will select the sustainable brand. Thus, information about a company and their approach to sustainability is influencing buying decisions and we expect to see this trend continue to increase.”
“At the same time, more and more, investors understand that the way a company manages and communicates about its approach to environmental, social and governance issues – and how much reputational risk a company is exposed to, based on their suppliers, geographic regions, sourcing practices etc., are key inputs into evaluating a company’s performance and future prospects.”
More information on the SASB can be found HERE .