The Food Journal and Food, Nutrition & Science

An alliance between The Lempert Report and The Center for Food Integrity

Sustainability Series: The Campbell Soup Company

Sustainability Series: The Campbell Soup Company


January 27, 2013

Founded in 1869, Campbell Soup Company is a manufacturer and marketer of high-quality foods and simple meals, including soup and sauces, baked snacks and healthy beverages. Their portfolio of market-leading brands includes "Campbell's," "Pepperidge Farm," "Arnott's," "V8" and "Bolthouse Farms." We talked to Dave Stangis, Campbell’s Vice President of Public Affairs & Corporate Responsibility, about the ways in which the company strives to make a positive impact in the workplace, in the marketplace and in the communities in which it operates. 

How does your business define sustainability?

At Campbell, sustainability reflects our organization’s commitment to environmental stewardship through integrated business strategies focused on reducing the resources we use in the sourcing, production and distribution of our products. We believe corporate social responsibility and sustainability are platforms to drive better business decisions and long term shareowner value. Our strategy has kept us focused on providing sustainable solutions – for our business as well as our stakeholders – especially in the areas of sustainable packaging, agriculture, plant operations, logistics and transportation. These platforms foster innovation, drive operational efficiency, improve environmental performance, reduce costs, strengthen our employees’ relationships with our customers, and ultimately, create a business advantage.

How are you incorporating sustainable practices into your business?

First, it was important to establish clear goals. In 2010 we outlined our 2020 corporate social responsibility agenda as the foundation for our sustainability efforts. Our 2020 agenda is anchored in our core competencies, fueled by our employees’ innovation, and driven by five key destination goals.

Second, operationalizing sustainability meant ensuring collaboration across our functions and businesses. A cross-functional leadership team in Environment, Supply Chain, Procurement, Manufacturing, Agriculture, Packaging and Logistics drive sustainability strategies for our business globally. We have an established operational rhythm where we review our goals and measure progress against each of these pillars. 

What are your short term and long term goals?

Ultimately, our long term goal is to become a better environmental steward by cutting the environmental footprint of our product portfolio in half, as measured by water and greenhouse gas [GHG] emissions per ton of product produced. To ensure we are on the right path, we have established destination goals and performance targets in five key areas: energy and water use, waste generation and recycling, sustainable packaging, sustainable agriculture and supply chain optimization.

Where do you think you’ll have the biggest impact?

We look at every step in our operation and every personal interaction as an opportunity to advance our sustainability agenda. However, I do believe that we have tremendous opportunity in the areas of energy and water use reduction, primarily due to the thermal processing and baking technologies employed across our manufacturing operation. Currently, Campbell has various renewable energy projects underway.

How do you measure your progress?

We measure our progress through consistent year over year metrics against our destination goals, including:

  • reducing energy usage by 35%, and sourcing 40% of the energy used from renewable or alternative energy sources;
  • recycling 95% of waste generated globally;
  • eliminating 100 million pounds of packaging from Campbell products;
  • delivering 100% of global packaging from sustainable materials; and
  • reducing water usage in primary agricultural ingredients by 20% and reducing the carbon footprint for tomatoes and vegetables by 20%.

How do retailers factor into your efforts?

Retailers play a crucial role in our sustainability efforts. Retailers looking to engage shoppers with products that are sustainable will help drive the change needed to create sustainable business practices. We actively partner with retailers to define shared priorities and help them in their efforts to reduce their carbon footprint and in general, to become better corporate citizens. For retailers, partnering with Campbell means ensuring support for their sustainable business strategies and an open sharing of integration best practices.

Why are sustainable business practices important to the food industry?

At its core, responsible corporate behavior and sustainable business practices are important to all industries. For companies in the food and beverage sector, sustainable practices go beyond accountability, transparency and engagement. Campbell, for example, is looking at platforms that include sustainable agriculture, responsible sourcing, promotion of human health and sound nutrition, and responsiveness to consumers’ ever-changing expectations of the foods they choose for themselves and their families.

Why are sustainable business practices important to the consumer?

Consumers are looking for businesses to be the driving forces that can implement the right measures to help reduce the strain on natural resources. In return, they are supporting organizations that lead in sustainability and corporate social responsibility practices. At Campbell, we are focusing our efforts beyond consumers. Our efforts aim to become sustainable partners to our neighbors, our communities and our employees. By taking responsibility for our actions and proactively managing our sustainability agenda, we will create a better environment for not only the consumer but for all our stakeholders.