Social responsibility efforts deserve recognition

by Keith Nunes
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KANSAS CITY — With the acknowledgement there is always room for improvement, efforts by food and beverage companies to be good corporate citizens should be recognized more often. Most notably are efforts by companies like Tyson Foods, Campbell Soup, The Hershey Co. and many others.

In late April, when tornadoes swept through central Arkansas, Tyson Foods contributed to the disaster relief efforts. The company sent its Meals that Matter disaster relief trailer, truckloads of food and ice and cooking teams from nearby Tyson plant communities to assist. The effort was not only intended to provide relief for those impacted by the storms, but also to support the first responders involved in the recovery and relief effort.

The Hershey Co. is active on a variety of fronts, ranging from ensuring that the ingredients it uses are sourced in a sustainable fashion and that the farmers who raise those ingredients are treated fairly. None of these issues are addressed in a rapid fashion and it is good to see companies like Hershey recognize that their corporate social responsibility efforts will evolve as time passes and specific goals are achieved.

“Since our original goals were set, we have learned a lot about where we could make a difference and what would make the most impact where it matters,” said John P. Bilbrey, president and chief executive officer of The Hershey Co., when talking about the company’s social responsibility report, which was recently released. “Our C.S.R. strategies have evolved, and the updated framework we share in this report reflects how our company values guide the way we work, and how our C.S.R. efforts have matured, become more focused and better aligned with our business.”

With its latest C.S.R. report, the Campbell Soup Co. highlighted its sustainability, health and wellness and charitable efforts.

“As a leader in the food and beverage industry, Campbell is demonstrating our steadfast commitment to making good, honest, authentic food for the people who live, work and eat in our communities,” said Denise Morrison, president and c.e.o. “We have worked hard to earn the loyalty and trust of consumers throughout our 145-year history and are committed to a strategy that integrates C.S.R. and sustainability across our business in order to build shareholder value.”

The discussion about companies and industries often focuses on the businesses and who makes up those entities is often not a part of the discussion. Yet the people who work for companies are often the driving force behind their social responsibility efforts. They are the Tyson Foods employees volunteering for disaster relief; they are the Hershey executives considering new ways to improve sustainability efforts; and they are the Campbell Soup associates who have developed a plan to further reduce waste.

Corporate Social Responsibility is a trendy phrase that has brought additional focus to what companies are doing to better their communities, society and the environment, but even before C.S.R. was a common acronym companies were undertaking such efforts. While they may not have gotten the attention they deserve, they underscore the roles food and beverage companies play beyond providing consumers with sustenance.
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