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Water, sun and steam—ingredients in our sustainability story

Today is Earth Day, but here at Campbell we’re thinking all year long about the impact we can have on the environment; whether it’s how we use our natural resources like water on the fields of our growers or how to reduce energy use at our production sites.

We’re taking a closer and more modern look at how we operate and finding ways across our business to scale back the footprint we leave on the planet.

Heating things up in a smart way

One area we’re focusing on is our energy management strategy. Tapping a partnership with Toronto Hydro enabled our Campbell Canada operations to install a co-generator at their Toronto site that supplies up to 93 percent of the site’s annual steam power needs and 95 percent of its electricity needs.

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Image credit: Toronto Hydro

The co-generator uses a natural gas-fueled engine to generate electricity and produce heat. The heat produced from the engine is used to generate steam, which is being used by Campbell Canada to cook soup. The power is used entirely within the Campbell Canada facility, displacing electricity which was previously supplied from the electricity grid.

Channeling the sun for renewable energy

Last year, a new solar energy array came online at our Pepperidge Farm bakery in Bloomfield, Connecticut. The array sits on five acres of land and generates the equivalent of 15 percent of the bakery’s annual energy demand.

In its first year, this produced more than 1.7MM kilowatt-hours of electricity and is one of the very few solar arrays operating at a manufacturing site in the industry. Pepperidge Farm has agreed to purchase the equivalent of 100 percent of the electricity produced by the system for the next 20 years.

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We’re still busy, because a second fuel cell at the Bloomfield production site is planned for installation this summer. The two fuel cells, combined with the onsite solar array, will generate 100 percent of the plant’s electricity demand.

Investing in sustainable energy is nothing new for Campbell.

In December 2011, we activated a 60-acre, 10-megawatt (MW) solar panel adjacent to our Napoleon, Ohio production site. That site has over 24,000 solar panels mounted on mechanisms that track the sun each day from east to west, and efficiently positions each panel at the right angle to generate the most electricity. It is estimated that the system will generate approximately 15% of the electricity needed to run the Napoleon operations.

Tapping Drip Irrigation to conserve water

Each year, Campbell uses around 2 billion pounds of tomatoes and most of them are grown in California. To conserve water throughout our harvesting process, we’re working with family farms to foster a more sustainable practice—drip irrigation.

Drip irrigation limits the reliance on a single source of water and gives flexibility when facing occasional (and naturally occurring) challenges like the recent drought.

By using drip irrigation our growers reduce their water use by about 25 percent per acre, while at the same time reducing Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions and increasing how much crop they grow.

Drip works by installing (under the soil-surface) a highly-engineered tube with holes spaced every few inches. An embedded filter at each hole allows it to release water at an even rate right where the roots need it. The number of Campbell tomato acres using drip irrigation has almost doubled in the last five years. Today, about 51 percent of our tomato crop – more than 14,000 acres – is grown using drip irrigation.

While we have a strong focus around tomatoes, we have agriculture goals around our carrots, potatoes, celery and jalapeños.

Future of sustainable real food practices

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Whether it be water conservation or renewable energy use, we’re always working toward our 2020 sustainability goal to reduce the environmental footprint from our operations by cutting water and greenhouse gas emissions by 50 percent.

To learn more about our progress toward our 2020 goal and the work our sites are doing, follow us on Twitter @campbellsoupco and @CampbellCSR.

Our latest Corporate Sustainability Report will be released later this year and will offer more details on our progress and the story behind our work.

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