In 2010, Campbell Soup Company committed to reduce its water usage and greenhouse gas emissions by half by 2020. We caught up with Niki Kelley, the company’s CSR program office manager, to find out how incentivizing sustainability is playing an important role in achieving this objective.
“Sustainability is a key issue for Campbell”, says Niki. “Amongst other goals, we want to be sourcing 40% of the energy we use from renewable or alternative energy sources and recycling 95% of our waste generated globally by 2020.”
Clearly this is no mean feat, so how is the company encouraging its employees to help it achieve these objectives?
“Fortunately we find that sustainability is generally a subject that interests our people without needing to push them too much”, Niki explains. “In fact, more and more often we’re finding that it’s our new recruits and suppliers who are asking us what we’re doing to reduce our environmental impact, rather than the other way around!”
“We have an employee-led sustainability network based at our world HQ in New Jersey, with other similar groups at many of our other locations around the world. The people who volunteer to be network members arrange various sustainability activities. Earlier this year we had lots of things going on to mark Earth Day, for example.”
However, although sustainability appears to be a subject that interests many of the employees at Campbell already, the team is keen to maintain that engagement and has started incentivizing sustainability by linking performance in this area to bonuses.
“From the 2011 fiscal year we started including sustainability achievements as part of our managers’ KPIs, and this has worked well”, Niki continues. “But it’s not just our senior staff we want to engage on this. We’re keen to maintain the engagement of all of our employees. So to help do this, when we come to setting our objectives each year, we ask every one of our employees to set an objective linked to the company’s ‘The Way We Work’ framework.
“‘The Way We Work’ sets out how we want to build a safe, diverse, inclusive, engaged and socially responsible workplace. Our employees can meet that objective by joining the sustainability network or by doing some volunteering, for example.”
Rewarding exceptional performances
As well as linking sustainability to individuals’ objectives, success in sustainability is given an important role at Campbell’s annual employee awards ceremony.
“Each year we hold our Extraordinary Performance Awards - a big production to recognize the fabulous work of our employees from all over the world”, Niki explains. “As well as recognizing strong leadership and teamwork, one of the categories is ‘Environmental Sustainability’. This always proves to be one of the most popular categories. Employees can nominate their colleagues for outstanding work they’ve done to help us achieve our 2020 objectives. It’s definitely a good driver for engagement around sustainability.”
Positive steps to 2020
“We’re confident we’re going to meet our 2020 goals”, says Niki. “We’re doing a lot of work that we’re really proud of. For example, we recently installed a 60-acre solar park in Ohio at our company’s biggest manufacturing site. The solar panels have an output of 10MwH, providing 15% of the plant’s electricity.
“So we’re making good progress. But there’s no denying that the targets we’ve set are challenging ones. Ensuring that our employees are engaged and remain engaged is going to be a crucial part of achieving them.”