As representatives from Walt Disney, Lockheed Martin and Campbell’s Soup attested on Wednesday morning at New Metrics ’15, well-run corporate sustainability programs bring multiple benefits, including increased sales, growing market value, higher employee productivity, and reduced risk exposure, among others.
Moderator Steve Rochlin from IO Sustainability asked each panelist to describe how they were working (or had achieved) to align sustainability with their business. Niki King from Campbell’s led the discussion with the emphasis that CSR is more important than ever, especially for the food industry, where mistrust is rampant and investors, employees, and consumers expect more and more. Campbell’s has taken a multifaceted approach to tackle this changing landscape – from the creation of whatsinmyfood.com to creating a CSR report that is the company’s most transparent piece of work, King said CR is at the heart of everything it is doing. Campbell’s formal CSR program is over 7 years old and has stated goals on environmental footprints, childhood hunger and obesity, and healthy communities.
Matthew Swibel from Lockheed Martin noted that his company takes a slightly different approach in that sustainability is rooted in ethics and governance.
“We are on that journey from looking beyond operations to long term sustainability growth,” he said. “Being able to stay true to your duty to society requires you to keep in mind freedom within a framework.”
For example, when beginning to measure sustainability progress, the team discovered that there were already over 150 mapped measurements that corresponded to the core issues they were working on; instead of reinventing the evaluation process, the team is able to use existing business metrics to help measure success.
The panelists agreed that sustainability ROI research, along with planned measurement, has been the catalyst for integration and change. When you are able to measure, you are able to communicate progress both internally and externally, creating value for the brand and impetus for continued innovation.