Patagonia’s Unconventional CSR

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Image source: Patagonia.com

California-based Patagonia, which specializes in outdoor apparel, has taken an unexpected and untraditional approach to corporate social responsibility (CSR). Sustainability, giving back and caring for the planet are firmly connected in a company conviction that’s clear for customers and the business world to see. That’s supported by Patagonia initiatives to buy and consume less.

A family business owned by Yvon and Malinda Chouinard, Patagonia’s mission is to “build the best product, cause no unnecessary harm, use business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis.”BtheChange.jpg

Yvon wrote in the company’s biography, Let My People Go Surfing, “Patagonia exists to challenge conventional wisdom and present a new style of responsible business.” True to form, in 2012, it was one of the first companies in California to become a Certified B Corporation.

Social & Environmental Activism

Knowing the resources it uses and waste it produces, Patagonia believes it has a responsibility to give back. Rather than thinking of what they do as charity or traditional philanthropy, the company calls it “our Earth Tax,” and considers it part of the cost of doing business.

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Image source: Patagonia.com

For the past 30 years, through its membership in 1% For The Planet® (an alliance of businesses), Patagonia has given 1% of sales to the preservation and restoration of the natural environment. To date, the company has donated $70 million in cash and in-kind services to 3,400 grassroots groups. A few stats show how the company supported environmental and social initiatives this past year:

(For a detailed look at Patagonia’s work in 2015, check out its Environmental + Social Initiatives booklet.) 

Sustainable Clothes & Supply Chain

Patagonia is determined to create “the world’s most socially and environmentally responsible supply chain,” and has steered the clothing industry into a more sustainable direction through its actions.


With products and suppliers.
In 1993, Patagonia was the first outdoor clothing manufacturer to use fleece made from post-consumer recycled (PCR) plastic soda bottles. And in 1996, it switched to using organically grown cotton in all cotton products.  It was also one of first major outdoor companies to work with Fair Trade USA on its Fair Trade Certified apparel.

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Image source: Patagonia.com

In 2007, to be more transparent about its supply chain, the company started publishing the environmental impacts of articles of clothing in The Footprint Chronicles® as well as including it on Patagonia’s product pages.

Within the industry. As a founding member of the Sustainable Apparel Coalition—an alliance of 30 companies in the clothing and footwear industries formed in 2010—Patagonia and member companies measure their environmental and social and labor impacts, benchmark performances against each other, and publish the results in a social and environmental performance index.

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Image source: GreenBiz, collateral at the Yerdle-Patagonia event in SF

The company’s belief in environmental conservation and corporate responsibility is integrated into its anti-consumption advertising. Maybe the most recognized of these ads ran on Black Friday in 2011 with the surprising message: “Don’t Buy This Jacket”, encouraging consumers not to buy what they didn’t need.  Patagonia has echoed this message over the years in its “buy used” marketing with eBay, and most recently, through its Worn Wear initiative about repairing clothes. While many think these messages fly in the face of why the company exists, Patagonia firmly believes it’s just the right thing to do.

Making a Bigger Difference

Patagonia’s commitment to inspire and implement environmental solutions reaches beyond the industry. In 2013, the company launched $20 Million and Change, through a holding company, Patagonia Works. It’s dedicated to a singular cause: using business to help solve the environmental crisis. With this fund, Patagonia helps like-minded, responsible start-up companies which want to work with nature rather than using it up.

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Image source: Patagonia.com

Humble about its CSR accomplishments, Patagonia states: “We have a long way to go and we don’t have a map—but we do have a way to read the terrain and take the next step, and then the next.”

If you’re inspired by Patagonia to take steps and give back through your company’s CSR efforts, we’re ready to help. Just contact us.

For more philanthropy news and CSR insights, subscribe to our Company Blog and follow us on LinkedIn.

– Andrea Lloyd
Director of Programs

Campbell’s – A CSR Leader

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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

campbellsThe 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

v8_products_image03Embracing 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

safetyPhotoCampbell’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.

campbellsCampbell’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

 

 

Johnson & Johnson’s Values Guide CSR

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In our household of three boys, Johnson & Johnson is a familiar brand. But what I didn’t know about the company—which may be best known for Band-Aids®, baby powder and Tylenol®—was that it practiced corporate social responsibility long before the term existed.

Caring for the world, one person at a time inspires and unites the people of Johnson & Johnson. In 1943, the company adopted its credo of values that guides decision making and challenges everyone at the company to put the needs and well-being of the people they serve first.

JnJ-Our-Credo-700Crafted more than 62 years ago by Robert Wood Johnson, the son of the founder, the credo is more than a moral compass . . . it’s “a visionary statement of corporate purpose” and the reason Johnson & Johnson has become the largest and most diversified health care company in the world.

In the past two years, Johnson & Johnson’s commitment to social responsibility has placed it among the top three of the 100 Best Corporate Citizens (a list compiled by Corporate Responsibility Magazine). And just this week, CEO Alex Gorsky received The Appeal of Conscience Award as a corporate ­­leader who by “deed and action has advanced human dignity and social justice.”

One simple but powerful idea in the company credo states, “We are responsible to the communities in which employees live and work, and to the world community as well. We must be good citizens—support good works and charities….”

Tradition of Philanthropy

Johnson & Johnson’s record of giving goes back to the early 1900s. Within hours of the 1906 San Francisco earthquake, the company gave the largest amount of help received from any organization, establishing its tradition of disaster giving and community philanthropy.

Tout-Full-Our-Giving_0Making the world a healthier place is at the heart of company philanthropy, focused in three strategic areas:

  • Saving and improving the lives of women and children
  • Preventing disease in vulnerable populations
  • Strengthening the healthcare workforce

Their approach? Work with partners to deliver community-based solutions.

One example of a successful partnership is Safe Kids Worldwide. For more than 27 years, Johnson & Johnson has been a part of the global organization dedicated to protecting kids from unintentional injuries. Safe-Kids-1000x666Through a network of more than 500 U.S. coalitions and partnerships with organizations in 25 countries, Safe Kids reduces injuries and deaths from motor vehicles, sports, drowning, falls, burns, poisonings and other activities. By 2008, this campaign had helped reduce the death rate for U.S. children aged 14 and younger by 45%.

In 2014, Johnson & Johnson’s philanthropy totaled nearly $172 million for organizations around the world, including $14.5 million through its Matching Gifts program (the company double-matched employee contributions last year).

It’s important for the company to evaluate the results of philanthropy, so they’ve set a sustainability goal to increase the number of programs measuring health-related outcomes. 2015 progress: 90 percent of Johnson & Johnson’s 230 philanthropy programs now monitor and report health-related outcomes.

Citizenship & Sustainability Efforts

Theirs is a long and involved history of citizenship and sustainability that this blog can’t really capture. But whether researching and developing new treatments for disease or working to reduce its environmental footprint, Johnson & Johnson conducts business in a responsible way. Most recent efforts include:

OurGiving-Pillar3-thumbnailAdvancing Human Health and Well-Being. In 2014, in response to the Ebola crisis, the company collaborated with the global health community to accelerate and expand production of the Ebola vaccine—to get it to families and health care professionals as quickly as possible.


Leading a Dynamic & Growing Business Responsibly
. 2015 is the first time Johnson & Johnson has established social goals as part of the company’s overall strategy. Energy-Use-Reduction-Efforts-300x200Its Healthy Future 2015 sustainability goals range from environmental sustainability and enhanced supply chain stewardship to greater transparency and commitments to address diseases in the developing world.

We’re not all leading global companies like Johnson & Johnson with a 129-year business history and enough resources to tackle world problems. But every business can examine its values and consider how to make a difference with philanthropy.  Inspired to get started? Contact us today—we can help.

– Andrea Lloyd
Director of Programs

IMAGE SOURCE: All images via http://www.jnj.com