Denise Morrison, Campbell Soup Company – Hero of Conscious Capitalism
As since 2011, Denise Morrison has demonstrated how a company can serve each of its many stakeholders for the betterment of all.
Under Morrison, Campbell has become a purpose-driven company focused on Real food that matters for life’s moments. These seven simple words have caused Campbell to think, talk and act differently about its food. For instance, Campbell was the first major food company to support national labeling of foods that contain genetically modified organisms (GMO). Additionally, Campbell has declared its intention to set the standard for transparency in the food industry. More recently, Morrison also set an ambitious goal, for Campbell, to be the leading health and well-being food company. She helped the company diversify into the fresh, organic and natural markets, acquiring businesses such as Bolthouse Farms, Garden Fresh Gourmet, and Plum Organics. And, Campbell developed its Real Food Philosophy which guides their work to make delicious and accessible food available to more people as it changes recipes to add more of the ingredients consumers want – like vegetables and whole grains — and remove others, like artificial colors and flavors. Staying true to this philosophy and the company’s Purpose, they have differentiated themselves from the rest of the food industry with the decision to leave the Grocery Manufacturers Association.
In an article for Time Magazine, Morrison explained the importance of Campbell’s Purpose as the focus of her leadership and company culture. This is reflected in the company’s community work, which is based on “collective impact” — the idea that companies need to work with a wide variety of stakeholders and other partners to form a shared goal for mutual and societal improvement. Morrison said, “In our food system, [collective impact] means companies can partner with cross-sector, local, regional and national leaders including schools, universities, hospitals, foundations and food banks. They should thoughtfully identify organizations that could meaningfully contribute to their strategic focus areas, create a culture of health and drive long-term change.”
One of Campbell’s efforts is the Just Peachy program designed to reduce food waste and improve nutrition and food access in the company’s home of South Jersey. The Just Peachy program involved working together with Eastern ProPak, the Food Bank of South Jersey, and a farmers’ cooperative to use 100,000 pounds of undersized peaches to make salsa, with$300,000 in profits from the salsa sales going to the Food Bank. Had Campbell not intervened those peaches would have been thrown away as they were too small for the market. As a result of this program, Campbell has recently been named a US Chamber of Commerce 2017 Best Environmental Stewardship Finalist.
Campbell has also acted on a larger scale to help the environment, expanding renewable energy sources at its world headquarters in the fiscal year 2016, recycling 86% of waste, donating over $65 million to charity, and eliminating 2.2 million pounds of packaging. This year, Campbell broke ground on a new 4.4 megawatt (MW) solar array at its headquarters, joining the 9.8MW system at their largest soup plant in Napoleon, Ohio, and the 1MW system at their Pepperidge Farm bakery in Bloomfield, Conn. Campbell has been named to the Dow Jones Sustainability World Index for eight years in a row and the North America Index for nine years in a row.
Other efforts to help the community include Campbell’s annual Make a Difference Week when employees volunteer 4,000 hours, 10,000 backpacks are donated to Feeding America and $60,000 in grants are made by the Campbell Soup Foundation to nonprofits. Morrison also built Campbell’s Healthy Communities program which seeks to improve the health of impoverished Camden, New Jersey youth. To accomplish this, Campbell works to provide more produce through local grocers to run local nutrition education classes, and to fund soccer programs to keep kids and teenagers active.
Finally, Morrison has also worked to improve policies for her own employees, including announcing 10 weeks of fully paid maternity and paternity leave for both male and female primary caregivers. Morrison shared on her LinkedIn blog, “As we strive to build a purpose-driven culture and create a supportive and challenging workplace, we need to look carefully at what matters to our employees. We know that providing for our families is one of the biggest reasons we come to work every day. Our new paid parental leave policy is intended to give parents the freedom and flexibility to experience those moments that occur in the first few months of their child’s life.”