The Hershey Co. has been named to The Civic 50, a list of top companies on the S&P 500 that seek to improve the quality of life in the communities where they do business.
The Dauphin County-based chocolate giant ranked No. 29 on the list, according to Bloomberg Businessweek.
“We are very proud to be included in The Civic 50 and be recognized for our commitment to ‘doing well by doing good,’” James George, Hershey vice president of corporate social responsibility, said in a statement.
In 2012, Hershey expanded its social programs and financial commitments to West Africa, where most of the world’s cocoa is produced. That included $10 million over five years to assist farming communities, fight child labor and promote education and health care in Africa.
The company also committed to buying all of its cocoa from certified sustainably managed farms by 2020.
Other initiatives include raising more than $11 million in 2011 for United Way and other groups, 10,000 employee volunteer hours and the company’s 35-year commitment to childhood activity through the Hershey’s Track & Field Games.
The announcement comes after Hershey’s corporate social responsibility initiatives have been recognized by other groups. But the company is contending with a lawsuit by a Louisiana pension fund seeking to have Hershey open its records to determine whether it profited from illegal child labor practices in West Africa cocoa farms.