Taking CSR from "Initiative" to Business Strategy

I have mentioned in previous blog posts some of the early work that I've been doing in this new role since joining the Campbell Soup Company. I've shared several examples of some of the external engagements I've participated in as well as some views on the future of the field.

However, the reason I was recruited to Campbell was to build an executable business strategy around CSR and Sustainability. After approximately 8 months on the job, I thought a brief progress report might be in order. Earlier this week, I met with Campbell's leadership team and yesterday, Len Griehs, vice president of investor relations and I met with a group of socially responsible investors and analysts in New York City. Next week, I'm delivering a talk at the CSR Performance Summit in New York. Each of these conversations has been or will be focused on the strategic elements of CSR and Sustainability. I posted the slides that we shared with the investors out on JustMeans earlier today. And, later next week I'll share the presentation from the CSR performance summit.

As I have been building the CSR strategy, I have kept six strategic imperatives front and center. These imperatives I believe are critical to a successful strategy. Without going into too much detail, the following imperatives need to be a part of any successful CSR strategy. # 1, Focus and Direction. # 2, Effective Governance. # 3, Clear Metrics. # 4, Stakeholder Enlistment. # 5, Organizational Competency. And, # 6, Communication.

We have chosen our four focus areas and will be building on them as we move forward. At the very highest level they are described as delivering on the Campbell Consumer Promise, Environmental Stewardship, Extraordinary Workplace/Extraordinary Employees, and our community commitment known as Nourishing Our Neighbors. There are many, many more components to the strategy at a more operational level including stakeholder engagement, ethics and compliance, supply chain and logistics, and our overall management system.

We have created a governance structure inside the company to manage and provide accountability for our strategies. Five formal teams including a steering committee and functional teams in each of the four areas I mentioned are in place. These teams are staffed with leaders including the CEO and operational and business unit executives that not only provide content expertise but alignment across the company.

We are currently in the process of identifying metrics, near-term goals and directional vision within our key focus areas. For example, within our environmental sustainability pillar we are detailing our efforts in five material areas-energy, water, waste, packaging, sustainable agriculture. And within Campbell's Nursing Our Neighbors platform we are crystallizing efforts around nutrition and well-being, youth, and vital communities.

This process is occurring in our other focus areas as well. If you take a look at the slides, you will see a long list of some great initiatives in all of these areas. These initiatives are the result of a cultural approach to increase employee engagement, minimize environmental impact, creating positive impacts in the communities in which we operate, and deliver a great product portfolio to our customers and consumers.

My intention going forward is to take the goodness inherent in these initiatives and turn that into a core business strategy. Campbell has elevated CSR and Sustainability as one of its seven core business strategies. This sets in motion formal strategic planning on an annual basis across all business groups.

I will provide another update in a few months as we drive alignment around goals and targets related to these strategies. In the meantime, I will continue to share examples and details that illustrate steps on this long-term journey.

Some of our current efforts are focused on comprehensively preparing our response to both the Carbon Disclosure Project and the Dow Jones Sustainability Index assessment. Both of these research vehicles are due within the next couple of months to their issuing organizations. They too, will help identify both the risks and opportunities within our strategy. Stay tuned, and I look forward to your input.