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Making a Difference as the Climate Change Dialogue Heats Up

 

Last month’s United Nations Climate Summit brought renewed attention to the public dialogue about climate change.

If you’re following this issue, you may be interested in knowing that a number of major U.S. companies, including Campbell, have been taking steps to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in a concerted effort to reduce the risk of climate change.

Understanding the Impact

At Campbell, we are acutely aware of the potential impact that climate change and greenhouse gases could have on the Earth and our food system, so we’ve been taking concrete action over the past decade to drive sustainable practices across our operations and supply chain – long before the recent U.N. Climate Summit.

We’re making tangible progress under a long-term strategy that’s focused on reducing our environmental footprint, from the field, to the plant, to your table. Our expanding commitment to sustainability is integrated with our business plans and encompasses sustainable agriculture, procurement, supplier engagement and performance reporting.

I’m proud of our actions, which reflect a heritage of environmental stewardship that is rooted in our belief that we have a responsibility to conserve the Earth’s natural resources for future generations.

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Campbell’s Commitments to Environmental Stewardship

  • We set our first GHG emission reduction target in 2005 as part of U.S. EPA’s Climate Leaders Program.
  • In 2010, we launched a global sustainability initiative to cut the environmental footprint of our product portfolio in half by 2020. We are aiming for 50% reductions in GHG emissions and water consumption per tonne of product produced by our plants.
  • In Fiscal 2013, we reduced: greenhouse gas emissions by 4.4% per tonne of food produced or more than 20,800 metric tonnes; energy use by 4%; and water consumption by 2.6%.

With more than 24,000 solar panels, our solar project in Napoleon, Ohio is the largest solar panel field at a private location serving one customer in the U.S. This field now generates about 15% of the electricity used by Napoleon, the largest soup plant in the world.

Overall, 8% of our Campbell’s global electric power is now being sourced by renewable energy and we’re investing in further opportunities, from wind turbines to biodigesters that convert waste to energy. We have enhanced our internal ROI evaluation processes to favor energy conservation and GHG reductions in our capital projects, and we continue to advance our renewable strategy with solar, fuel cell, wind and waste to energy installations.

Campbell sources our tomatoes from independent family farms and we use more than 2 billion pounds a year. In 2012, we relaunched our Sustainable Agriculture Program. Almost all of our tomatoes are grown in California. So we’re working directly with our family farms to implement drip irrigation, which cuts water consumption by about 25% per acre while reducing the carbon footprint and increasing yields significantly.

Today, about 42% of our tomato crop is grown using drip irrigation, compared with 29% two years ago. As a member of The Sustainability Consortium, Campbell is also working to advance fertilizer optimization – another key to reducing GHG emissions from farming.

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Declaring Further Commitments

In April, we announced new commitments during Wal-mart’s first Sustainable Product Expo. These commitments include:

  • Reducing GHG emissions and water use by 20% per tonne of food for Campbell’s five key agricultural ingredients: Tomatoes, Carrots, Celery, Potatoes and Jalapenos
  • Working with our peer companies and value chain partners (growers, suppliers and customers) to help achieve zero net deforestation by 2020, and
  • Preserving rain forests by sourcing our Palm Oil needs from certified sustainable sources by 2015.

I think it’s important to note that our positions on resource conservation, including climate change, haven’t been set by industry or business trade associations or elected officials, but by Campbell executives that have challenged the status quo and established accountability above many industry standards.

A Long-Term Strategy

We’re proactively managing our resources and taking concrete action on climate change because it’s sound business…and the right thing to do for the future of the planet. Our 2014 CSR Report further details our commitments and opportunities.

 

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