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Hershey among top firms on LGBT equality index

The Hershey Co. has once again received a perfect score in a national survey ranking corporations for their commitment to LGBT equality.

The Dauphin County-based candy company was among several big-name Pennsylvania employers to earn a 100 percent rating on the Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s 2017 Corporate Equality Index, which is a survey of major corporations.

It was the third annual perfect score for Hershey, which can count itself among the Human Rights Campaign’s “Best Places to Work for LGBT Equality.”

“Hershey is at its best when every member of our team believes they can help us find new paths to growth and success,” said CFO Patricia Little, who also serves as executive sponsor of Hershey’s Prism (LGBTQ) Business Resource Group.

“We know that, at Hershey, diverse opinions and perspectives directly contribute to our ability to deliver better results – internally and externally,” Little added.

The Corporate Equality Index was launched in 2002 to assess LGBT-inclusive policies and practices at Fortune 500 companies. A record-breaking 517 businesses earned the index’s top score this year, up from 407 last year, Human Rights Campaign officials said — the survey’s largest ever annual jump.

The rating, which has expanded to embrace the Fortune 1000 list, officially rated 887 companies and firms this year.

“Even in the face of relentless attempts to undermine equality, America’s leading companies and law firms remain steadfast and committed to supporting and defending the rights and dignity of LGBTQ people,” said Chad Griffin, president of Human Rights Campaign.

For Hershey, the ranking comes as confirmation that the company is on track to meet larger diversity targets.

“At Hershey, we’re continuing to make strides towards our goal of becoming a global leader in diversity and inclusion by 2020,” said AJ Petross, the company’s senior director for culture, diversity, inclusion and engagement.

“Our CEI ranking is one we’re extremely proud of because it’s a visible reflection of our commitment to diversity and an inclusive culture for all people,” Petross added.

That commitment extends beyond its own walls.

Earlier this year, Hershey lauded Gov. Tom Wolf, thanking the governor for his executive order that bans agencies under the governor’s jurisdiction from discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender expression and identity.

Others on list

Other corporations with local or regional ties to earn a perfect score included:

• Air Products & Chemicals Inc., of Allentown.

• Alcoa Inc. and spin-off Arconic Inc. (Arconic operates a former Alcoa plant in Lancaster County).

• Highmark Inc., of Pittsburgh.

• PPL Corp., of Allentown.

• PNC Financial Services Group Inc., of Pittsburgh.

• Wawa Inc., the convenience store chain based in suburban Philadelphia.

Two other regional corporations saw their scores remain unchanged this year:

The Bon-Ton Stores Inc., with headquarters in Milwaukee and York County, earned 85 percent.

Rite Aid Corp., based in Cumberland County, earned 65 percent.

Rite Aid competitor CVS Health Corp. earned 100 percent, as did Walgreen Co., whose parent corporation has a deal pending to acquire Rite Aid.

Roger DuPuis
Roger DuPuis covers Cumberland County, health care, transportation, distribution, energy and environment. Have a tip or question for him? Email him at [email protected].

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