This article was originally published at Forbes.com.
His most ready example? A peach.
The story starts with an act of corporate philanthropy. Campbell’s asked a local foodbank what they needed. The foodbank identified a problem that Campbell’s was uniquely positioned to solve. Each year, farmers in New Jersey pay to bury 80,000 pounds of peaches in landfills that are edible, but don’t meet the consumer standards for cosmetic appearance.
Stangis and his team mobilized, calling in donations from suppliers, gaining the ability to use the company’s test plant, and asking employees to volunteer time to help with the production and packaging of a peach salsa. The salsa was then donated to the foodbank, who sold it through retail outlets and at farmer’s markets, generating more than $300,000 over 6 years for the foodbank’s operating expenses, and saving thousands of tons of food from the landfill.
Six years later, the Just Peachy partnership has become an annual opportunity for Campbell’s Soup to give back to the community. During last year’s peach season in New Jersey, and this year over 42,000 jars of Just Peachy salsa were produced in a win-win opportunity that helps farmers, the foodbank, the environment, and the company.
Corporate Benefits To Social Responsibility
The partnership has gained extensive media attention and won industry awards. But Stangis identifies corporate benefits as well.
“It was an early signal in Campbell’s Real Food journey, informing the narrative of the company and leading to other product ideas,” Stangis says. Inspired in part by the Just Peachy experience, the company has launched other efforts to explore how food waste can be a product development opportunity.
Consumers now have higher expectations of what brands should contribute to the world. Companies who connect their brand to positive social action earn strong reputations that encourage buying and customer loyalty.
CSR efforts strengthen a company’s global reputation, ensuring their standing among business-to-business enterprises. Campbell’s Soup, for example, has won global recognition as an ethical company and for their commitments to CSR and sustainability. Earlier this year, the company made Corporate Responsibility Magazine’s list of 100 Best Corporate Citizens for the tenth in a row.
Social responsibility also fosters employee engagement at a deeper level that helps give meaning to work, especially when the CSR practices are tied to the company’s core business.
“We want employees to be engaged and to see the entire process, and to feel like they’re actually making a difference in the community that’s tied into the business proposition for society,” Stangis says.
Want more resources on CSR or sustainability?
- Read our article that offers Five Questions to Assess Your Corporate Social Responsibility
- Find our series on food waste and related sustainability concerns
Reporting for this article was through research associated with Benedictine University’s Ph.D. program in values-driven leadership, for senior executives.
We work at the Center for Values-Driven Leadership, at Benedictine University, where we study and consult with performance-focused, values-driven companies to understand their pain points and help them thrive. We know creating a strong, values-driven culture is complex work….
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