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Smucker’s CEO Says Doing Good is Good for Business

August 6, 2019, 6:41 PM UTC

Say the name “Smucker’s” and everyone thinks jellies and jams and peanut butter. But what most people don’t know is that J.M. Smucker and Company is big on doing good things for the environment too. The Orville, Ohio company is using wind power for its energy needs, reducing carbon emissions and cleaning up landfills.

Mark Smucker says this is the legacy of his great, great grandfather, Jerome Monroe Smucker, who founded the company 122 years ago, providing wholesome fresh fruit from apple orchards.

“One of the reasons he founded the company was to help the farmers in that area of Ohio,” says Smucker, who took over the CEO job in 2016. “At our very core as a company we’re about supporting the community in which we work.”

Following in that family tradition, Smucker is supporting coffee bean farmers in developing countries. Smucker’s which sells Folgers and Dunkin’ Donuts coffee brands, is the largest coffee roaster in North America and Smucker believes he has a responsibility to “support the sustainability of the coffee chain” and ” to improve the livelihood” of coffee farmers.

“We’re making progress,” he says. “We’ve touched the lives of 16,000 plus coffee farmers and we’re starting to see some new varieties of arabica plants that can survive in warmer climates.”

Those are important milestones for Smucker’s seven thousand employees who have high expectations when it comes to the issue of corporate social responsibility. Smucker says that expectation has changed tremendously from the days when his father, his uncle, and his great great grandfather were running the company. “In our company we talk about six constituencies. Consumers, customers, employees, suppliers communities, and the sixth is shareholders,” he says. “If you take care of that first five, automatically you will take care of your investors. And so by focusing on those five constituencies, we’re really helping the business to thrive as well.”

Today, Smucker’s is a Fortune 500 company with revenues of $7 billion. In 2018 its profits surged 126 percent.

Watch the video above for more from my interview with Smucker.