When I say Campbell’s, the first thing that comes to mind is tomato soup—especially since it’s one of the top 10 foods sold off shelves in U.S. grocery stores today. But you may not know what stands behind the familiar products you enjoy: a business that has integrated social responsibility and sustainability into everything it does.
A Bit of History
The company was started 146 years ago, in 1869, when Joseph Campbell, a fruit merchant, and Abraham Anderson, an icebox manufacturer, opened their first plant in Camden, New Jersey. Twenty eight years later, Campbell’s created five varieties of condensed soup, including the now-favorite tomato. National distribution of soups followed in 1911.
Campbell’s founders pioneered values the company practices today. It is driven and inspired by its purpose: “real food that matters for life’s moments.” The company believes it has a duty to the people who use its products, the communities that support them, and the earth that provides its ingredients. Those values extend to the Campbell’s family of brands, including Pepperidge Farms, V8, Swanson, Pace, Prego, Plum Organics.
Corporate Social Responsibility Approach
CSR and sustainability for the Campbell Soup Company means:
- Advancing global wellness and nutrition
- Helping build a more sustainable environment
- Honoring its role in society from the farm to the family
Embracing social responsibility, the company considers its impact across the life cycle of products—the ingredients used, how they’re made and more—and annually reports on CSR performance. (Here’s the latest complete CSR report.)
The company’s formal CSR strategy, started six years ago, is based on four pillars:
Nourishing the planet: Environmental Stewardship
Campbell’s goal is to cut the environmental footprint of its products in half by 2020. Among other actions, this includes reducing greenhouse gas emissions and water use, and eliminating packaging materials. Since 2008, the company has reduced gas emissions by 17.1% and water consumption by 27.4%. And Campbell’s has eliminated more than 89 million pounds of packaging materials since 2009.
Nourishing consumers: Interactions with customers and consumers
For Campbell’s, nourishing consumers means continuing to offer products that promote wellness—with a variety of affordable, convenient and great-tasting foods. In 2014, $2.5 billion of Campbell’s retail sales (about 32%) were foods that satisfied the FDA definition of healthy.
Nourishing employees: Building a high-performance workplace
Campbell’s is creating a diverse, inclusive and engaging work environment. Its employees, currently 45% women, include the first female CEO and president, Denise Morrison. CSR and sustainability goals are baked into its culture, with company Greatness Awards recognizing employees and teams for results that directly support business strategies and values.
Nourishing neighbors: Community Service
Improving the health of young people in hometown communities is the focus of Campbell’s Healthy Communities program, a $10 million, 10-year initiative. Last year:
- Employees around the globe contributed more than 15,000 hours of volunteer service to their local communities.
- During the company’s annual Make a Difference Week, more than 1,100 employees across the United States tackled 90 community projects.
Serving communities is also about philanthropy—giving money, grants and in-kind donations to help them. In 2014, Campbell’s charitable giving totaled more than $70 million, with about $60 million in kind, and another $10 million from corporate donations, cause marketing, nonprofit grants and employee giving.
Campbell’s most recent CSR efforts earned the company the #8 spot on the 2015 list of 100 Best Corporate Citizens compiled by Corporate Responsibility Magazine. That’s a move up from #11 in 2014.
Campbell’s understands that what they do, every day, matters—and their actions make it clear they take being a good corporate citizen to heart. Borrowing from a popular company marketing campaign, you could say their CSR is M’m, M’m, Good!
Inspired to consider improving your CSR efforts and looking for ways to incorporate philanthropy to make a bigger difference? Contact us today—we can help.
– Andrea Lloyd
Director of Programs