Sophia Sparksworthy_1's blog

Building Resiliency in Campbell Soup’s Agricultural Supply Chain

Our team met up with Megan Maltenfort, Director, Corporate Responsibility & Sustainability at Campbell Soup Company, to discuss their work to adapt their agricultural practices to the impacts of climate change
This year, Campbell Soup Company celebrates its 150th anniversary. That is an impressive milestone for an iconic company firmly rooted in American culture. Driven by our Purpose, “Real food that matters for life’s moment,” we now look toward the next 150 years. With increasing resource constraints, more frequent natural disasters, and weather extremes affecting where and how we grow our food- the need to adapt to the impacts of climate change is more real than ever. 
For a food company, this means building a more resilient agricultural supply chain so that we can ensure a secure and sustainable supply of ingredients to continue making real food for generations to come.
Above: Campbell Soup Company connecting with farmers to work towards a more resilient agricultural supply chain.
We do this by partnering with our farmers and other key stakeholders in two ways: 
1. Education: We equip our farmers with information on how to use resources more efficiently and share data in ways which help them understand their environmental impact and opportunities to improve.
2. Technology: We encourage our farmers to explore the use of precision technology and “big data” tools to identify practices which optimize resource consumption and profitability. 
Making Technology the Norm
It’s likely no surprise that tomatoes are important to Campbell - in fact, they are our most important ingredient! They are the foundation for our soups, beverages, sauces, and salsas. That’s why for years we have been working closely with the family farmers that grow tomatoes for Campbell. In partnership with these farmers, we have encouraged the installation of drip irrigation technology so that less water and fertilizer is consumed to produce tomatoes each growing season. This technology allows for the precise application of essential resources so that tomatoes can be grown as efficiently as possible. 
In 2018, 72 percent of acres farmed for our tomatoes used drip irrigation systems. Through the use of this technology and other sustainable growing practices, we have seen a 15 percent reduction in water use per pound of tomatoes and an 18 percent reduction in GHG emissions per tonne of tomatoes since 2012.  
Above: Megan works with Campbell's network of farmers to equip them with the resources needed to promote more sustainable agricultural practices. 
Expanding Education and Access to Data
With the success of our tomato sustainability efforts, we more recently expanded our sustainability work to another key ingredient, wheat, through a partnership with Land O’Lakes SUSTAIN, the sustainability business unit from Land O’Lakes, Inc. Wheat is the foundation of our Pepperidge Farm brand and together with Land O’Lakes and their network of agricultural retailers (a farmer’s most trusted advisor), we are providing farmers with the education, tools, and products to optimize fertilizer use, maximize profitability, and minimize soil nutrient losses. In doing this, our farmers can protect both the health of the local watershed and the resiliency of their farms.
Through this project, we now know that of the 10,000+ acres assessed in 2018, 55 percent of those acres use cover crops, reducing soil erosion and improving soil fertility and quality; and 50 percent of the acres use variable-rate technology to identify the precise location, quantity, and quality of the nutrients being used. In partnership with the agricultural retailer and SUSTAIN, we are focusing on increasing the adoption rate of these practices and helping our farmers continuously improve.
Finding the right partners to provide access to education, data, and technology among our growers has been key to the success of our sustainable agriculture programs. Through strong collaboration, we can protect our shared resources to build resiliency into the future.
Campbell Soup Company is a sponsor of the 2019 Net Impact Conference. Hear more from their leaders at the Conference on October 24-26th in Detroit. To learn more about Campbell Soup Company's corporate responsibility work, please visit
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Campbell Soup Company is addressing the impacts of climate change throughout their supply chains including developing solutions for one of their most important ingredients, tomatoes!

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Finding a STEM Career with Impact

Our team met up with Aimee Hood, Regulatory and Scientific Engagement Lead at Bayer, to discuss finding a STEM career with impact, her path to a career with Bayer, her current work, and more. 


1) In 2019, the Net Impact Conference is focused on widening the lens to tackle tough challenges like climate change and food insecurity. What's the best way for the next generation to do that?
I love the concept of “widening the lens.” Don’t we all learn and grow more when we push ourselves beyond our boundaries? Climate change and food insecurity are major challenges that my colleagues and I think about every day at Bayer. Tough challenges require creative and innovative solutions. I think the most important skill for the next generation in light of these global challenges is critical thinking. Too often today, the reputation of scientific innovation is threatened by emotional campaigns based on fear—not science. Take the time to learn about important topics from credible experts. Challenge your friends and family to do the same and question them when they are sharing misinformation.
2) Our Net Impact members from over 400 global chapters are really interested in corporate citizenship and how corporations are striving to make the world better. In what ways is Bayer focused on creating a more just and sustainable world? 
We know that one of the biggest global challenges we face is food insecurity. By 2050, there will be almost 10 billion humans on this planet. At Bayer, we want to help ensure a safe supply of food, now and in the future. We will only be successful if our solutions also protect the environment and improve the quality of life of farmers and their families. From talking with farmers, I know that our products have changed their lives, land, and harvests for the better. For instance, I’ve visited with farmers who have been able to reduce their insecticide applications by more than 90% because of seeds with GMO technology that are able to more effectively resist pests. This is amazing to me and I can’t wait to see what the future holds.
3) What has surprised you the most in your work with Bayer?
A couple of things – first, I am amazed every day by the people that I work with. They are creative, brilliant, inspirational and purpose-driven. Also, even after 20 years, I learn something new every day. I am constantly learning new things about agriculture, farm life, breeding and other technical aspects of my work. I also embrace new ways to be the best leader, communicator, and mentor that I can be, and I am so grateful that Bayer encourages an environment where I can learn from others and emulate the best.
4) What advice do you have for young women looking to go into STEM careers?
Don’t be afraid to seek out coaching from those that you admire. Leaders I work with love to mentor others who have similar passions. Also, don’t avoid change – embrace it. Twenty years ago, when I started as a process engineer working in a lab, I would have never dreamed that this would be my job. I had a boss who saw a strength in me that I hadn’t yet realized and together we created an entirely new role for me focused on bridging the communication gap between scientists and broader audiences. I thought he was crazy and that I would fail miserably, but now I could not imagine doing anything else!
5) In 20 words or less, what is your one piece of advice for emerging impact leaders?
Be open to new challenges; often the best personal development comes out of opportunities that sound the most intimidating.



Aimee Hood is the Regulatory and Scientific Engagement Lead at Bayer. She works with a team of scientists to engage with the scientific community about the safety and benefits of Bayer’s portfolio of products. Aimee is a STEM advocate and is a member of Project Lead the Way at St. Dominic High School in St. Louis. She has a degree in Biochemical Engineering from the University of Missouri-Columbia. Follow Aimee on LinkedIn and Twitter

Careers in STEM

Challenging Racial Inequity on Campus

Symantec supports Net Impact’s Racial Equity Fellowship and the passionate students who want to change the world.

Symantec is a world leader in cyber defense with a mission to make the world a better, safer place for everyone. Symantec’s longstanding relationship with Net Impact began with a general grant to help equip young leaders to thrive at the forefront of social change efforts. Our partnership morphed over time to focus on racial equity and their support has helped establish undergraduate chapters at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and helped create the Racial Equity Fellowship.

Kriti Vashisht and Natalia Chavez are passionate about challenging racial inequity and bias. As two participants in Net Impact’s most recent Racial Equity Fellowship cohort, they each spent the last few months educating their peers, initiating difficult conversations, and inspiring change on their college campuses.

Supported by the Symantec Foundation, Newman’s Own Foundation, and Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights, the fellowship is a leadership development program that supports students as they design and implement a racial equity action project on campus. Kriti and Natalia received a stipend to complete their action project, virtual leadership development training, and free registration to the Net Impact Conference as part of the program.

Kriti, a Ph.D. student at Texas A&M University, brought marginalized voices to the mainstream in India before moving to the U.S. for graduate school. After using digital storytelling with children from low socio-economic backgrounds in slums in India to tell their stories about safe spaces, she saw firsthand that policies affecting marginalized communities were enacted by those living in high-wealth countries.

She came to Corpus Christi, Texas as an Indian woman of color and international student to add her voice and contribute to humanity. According to Kriti, “My department is very diverse and has been inclusive and open about the discomfort international and non-white students were facing given the U.S. political environment. We saw hate posters displayed in the library after the 2016 election and while I believe the administration handled the situation well, I saw that international students were looked upon as a liability – as people taking away American jobs.”

Above: The photos Kriti selected as part of her own immigrant asset story 

With a background in gender and racial equity, Kriti applied for the Net Impact fellowship to tell the stories of international students. “A lot of the narrative around immigrants is around how people discriminate and marginalize us. I think it’s equally important to provide a counter-narrative on how we are contributing to the United States. I found that I needed to flip this in my own mind as well – I am educated and competent and needed to start seeing myself as an asset.”

Working with Dr. Rosa Banda, Assistant Professor in the Department of Educational Leadership at Texas A&M, she created a framework for an asset-based photo narrative project. She chose photo narrative, which often includes fewer power dynamics when engaging research participants, and collaborated with A&M’s International Culture Alliance. She asked participants to take photos of their experience as international students and contributing members of the university. 

Kriti included the story of the university’s first Fulbright Scholar, a Muslim woman from Jordan who wears the hijab in her action project. “On campus, her identity is as a Muslim woman and no one even knows that she’s the first Fulbright Scholar our university has ever had—these are the stories of immigrants that we need to tell.”

Above: Fulbright Scholar Dania Al-ashhab delivering a presentation on Breaking Stereotypes

Natalia tackled her action project from a different angle as she’s getting her master’s degree in Urban Planning at Boston University. She’d been thinking a lot about how race and gender impact identity and saw in her classes how planning policies affect segregation. “Take redlining for example. African Americans were not allowed to get loans to buy a house and live in certain areas and that policy still affects people today. As city planners we can affect the world as we’re designing – perhaps our plans can make up for some of the past wrongs or at the very least we can incorporate racial equity into our plans for today,” she said.

Natalia implemented a “Table Talk Series” to create a space where students and outside experts could discuss urban planning topics using the lens of racial equity. One session, a book talk, was devoted to talking about race and affordable housing, while another discussed creating a sense of place in a neighborhood through art.

Above: Flyer for the table talks, Natalia organized

“The table talks were a space where we as students could discuss these issues openly and intentionally, instead of as a brief side note during class. We dove deeper, asked questions, and worked to bring attention to these issues,” she said.

Both Kriti and Natalia were grateful to be a part of the fellowship program. “Net Impact really supported me. The stipend allowed me to get people involved and I relied on the readings Net Impact provided. I learned a lot from the subject matter expert they introduced me to. She helped me see that digital storytelling isn’t just about sharing and awareness raising, but also about sustaining the stories to change the system. With her suggestion, I’m now working on incorporating the visuals I created into campus events — think about if you could see the impact international students were having at activities all over campus throughout the year,” Kriti said.

Kriti is continuing in her Ph.D. program and hopes to work as a community engagement researcher. Natalia will finish at Boston University this summer and then will start a second master’s degree at Harvard’s Kennedy School in Public Administration. She also recently co-founded Urbanability, a nonprofit urban planning consulting firm that helps make cities equitable, with a focus on empowering underserved communities.

To learn more about Net Impact’s Racial Equity Fellowship visit To learn more about Symantec’s commitment to corporate responsibility and diversity, please visit


Above: The attendees from one of the table talks Natalia organized
Above: The attendees from one of the table talks Natalia organized

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Inspiring the Next Generation of Changemakers

The Net Impact Conference attracts professionals and students alike, all connected around the same motivation, to pursue purpose-driven careers and make a meaningful impact on the world. And while this marks my second year attending the Conference, Campbell has been involved in Net Impact and has supported the annual conference for ten years. Our participation in this event is simple - we want to inspire the next generation of changemakers.

This year, we gathered in Phoenix, and the energy was electric. Over 1,500 people craving to learn more about how to build purposeful careers; willing to push the boundaries to create a world that they know is possible. But there was something different about this year’s lineup of speakers. They were not the big names we often expect to see at one of the largest sustainability gatherings in the country. Instead, the keynote speakers and many of the breakout sessions pushed the boundaries by delving into topics like gang violence, universal basic income, and hyperlocal community building, and offered real solutions to some of the systemic societal challenges we are facing today. 

Attendees left inspired from the deeply personal and impactful stories that were shared during the conference. Campbell was invited to share its story as well through three engagements: a workshop on strategic corporate citizenship, a panel on building a career in Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and a booth at the Networking Expo, enabling us to interact with hundreds of participants at the conference. 

What I find to be most valuable is the opportunity to both connect with and learn from peers and also mentor those just entering the field. Each is working to navigate their individual path to purpose and Net Impact offers a valuable network to help support that exploration. And as I continue to connect with those I’ve met at the conference this year, I realize how Campbell’s values align to the values of this next generation of leaders. They truly embody the mindset of: Do Right and Be Real, Seek the Power of Different, Dare to Disrupt and Own it Like a Founder, and I am confident that this will create transformational shifts in corporate culture and corporate consciousness. 



Leadership Outside the Lines Series: Finding My Way Toward Everyday Impact at Microsoft

In this special blog series, we are featuring stories from our 2018 Net Impact Conference partners about how individuals at their organizations are going outside the lines to make an impact from any position. Microsoft is a sponsor of the upcoming 2018 Net Impact Conference in Phoenix, AZ October 25-27th. 

We are living in the fourth industrial revolution characterized by a fusion of advanced technologies such as artificial intelligence, Internet of Things, robotics, and quantum computing. These disruptive technologies are enabled by the powerful, ubiquitous, and inexpensive cloud solutions that reside in datacenters. While this revolution creates opportunity and connection for billions, improves efficiencies in every field, and transforms healthcare, it presents societal challenges like massive disruption in labor markets, widening economic inequality, a widening digital divide, and increasing challenges to protect privacy. To that end, we all – corporations, government, and individuals – must recognize that with this great power comes great responsibility. 

Microsoft understands this responsibility and is committed to investing in the long-term health of communities where it operates. Datacenter Community Development (DCCD) is an initiative within the company’s Cloud + AI division that focuses on empowering people and organizations in datacenter communities. DCCD partners with local governments, nonprofits, civic organizations, businesses, and schools to understand the needs of the community and match those needs to Microsoft programs and resources that can help advance social opportunity, enhance economic growth, reduce digital divide, and support environmental sustainability. As a program manager for DCCD, I am excited to work on projects that help Microsoft solve real societal problems in these complex times of the current industrial revolution.

I am fortunate to have found a career where I can channel my passion for social impact. When I joined the MBA program at University of Arizona, I was under the impression that I should work for a nonprofit in order to follow my dreams of making a positive impact in the community. During the first year of my MBA studies, I served as the Net Impact Chapter President and discovered opportunities to learn about purpose-driven corporations that solve social issues through their work. For a long time, I was torn about whether I should pursue a career in the nonprofit sector or work for a purpose-driven corporation. While I was working on an MBA consulting project for Microsoft, I found out about the company’s long history of giving back to the community and its different initiatives to empower others to achieve more. As a summer intern here, I discovered a sense of purpose in the work I was doing and realized that my personal mission is very much aligned to the company’s mission. Now, as a full-time Project Manager since February 2018, I have been involved in multiple socially-innovative projects, such as measuring the social impact of Microsoft’s work and developing a new model for community funding. In constantly seeking creative ways to improve communities, taking bias towards action, and pivoting ideas as a result of community engagement makes me feel like I am working for a social startup. But the most exciting part of my job is developing strategies to partner with great organizations like Net Impact to do more good in the world. Our team at Microsoft is partnering with Net Impact this year to design and organize a Community Impact pitch competition for students in the datacenter communities. 

We believe students are force multipliers of community change, and are delighted to partner with students to build stronger communities. Come to the Microsoft expo booth at NI18 to learn more about how you can partner with us to create shared value in your community.

Learn more about Microsoft’s community impact work at the 2018 Net Impact Conference

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Leadership Outside the Lines Series: Tackling Tough Challenges for Farmers and Our Planet

In this special blog series, we are featuring stories from our 2018 Net Impact Conference partners about how individuals at their organizations are going outside the lines to make an impact from any position. Bayer is a sponsor of the upcoming 2018 Net Impact Conference in Phoenix, AZ October 25-27th. 

Our planet faces some big challenges. Climate change, increasing population, water scarcity and pollution are a few of them. I work on a team uniquely positioned to invent real solutions to these big challenges. I have that opportunity because I work in agriculture, one of the world’s most important – and increasingly technologically advanced – industries. Agricultural scientists and farmers around the world are making real progress toward identifying and implementing solutions that promise to help preserve our environment while allowing the growing population access to safe, healthy and affordable food.  Being a part of that is what motivates me every single day!

My great-grandmother was only 3 years old in 1885 when her family homesteaded in Nebraska. At that time, farming was the only way to survive. The soil was not only where all the food emerged, it was also the building blocks of the family’s sod house. The entire family worked full-time on the farm, just like virtually all their neighbors. 

A century later, when I was in high school, the land had been handed down for a few generations and my family still made our living by farming. However, the methods we used were much more automated. We were fortunate to use tractors to pull large planters and harvesters instead of the ox and horse-drawn equipment used by my ancestors. And now, 30+ years down the road, the tools used on my family’s farm have continued to evolve in ways that provide increased sustainability of the land.

Today, we use computerized field maps that show how soil types or plant health change across each field. This data helps us precisely determine how much water, nutrients, or management our crops need at any stage of growth. The maps are connected to weather station data to ensure natural rainfall is accounted for. We rely on seed and crop protection providers to add and/or utilize data in the system to help us make educated choices on which crops, hybrids/varieties, fertility, and disease management practices should be utilized in each field. Each piece of this modern agriculture technology helps farmers like my family maximize efficiency to reduce agriculture’s impact on the environment.

Now, as the Global Consumer Engagement Lead at Bayer, I take great pride in my work both on and off the fields. I know that I am helping to ensure that my children inherit a planet that has the potential to feed the generations to come. If you have an interest in data science, soil science, business management, chemistry, biotechnology, entomology or plant science—agriculture is a great field to find your passion and help feed a growing world and sustain a healthy environment!

If you are attending the Conference in Phoenix, please stop by the Bayer sponsor booth and say hello.  My colleagues and I would love to show you some of the amazing technologies being used by farmers around the world to sustainably produce that food that you enjoy!

Learn more about Bayer’s work at the 2018 Net Impact Conference.


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Leadership Outside the Lines Series: Changing the world, one dishwasher at a time

In this special blog series, we are featuring stories from our 2018 Net Impact Conference partners about how individuals at their organizations are going outside the lines to make an impact from any position. Ecolab is a sponsor of the upcoming 2018 Net Impact Conference in Phoenix, AZ October 25-27th. 

If you want to change the world for the better, you don’t have to work for an NGO, enter politics or be the chief sustainability officer for a big company. In fact, you can do many other things that are just as meaningful.

Take me, for instance. As a chemical engineer, I was part of developing Ecolab’s new EHT dishmachine that uses 50 percent less water and energy than previous models.

You may think that dishwashers are not very exciting, and I understand that. But we all eat at restaurants and those all have professional-grade dishwashers. That means that if you build a better dishwasher, you can help save huge amounts of water and energy.

I have always been interested in the environment. As an engineering student at the University of Minnesota, I interned at the school’s Integrated Waste Management Facility, where we figured out ways to process waste from the chemistry labs, so the students wouldn’t just pour chemicals down the drain.

As a kid, I had the good fortune to travel a lot with my family, so we spent a lot of time on airplanes. That got me thinking about all the engineering that goes into keeping passengers safe. Later, when I worked for an aerospace company, I worked on the avionics sensors on the Airbus A380, the biggest passenger plane in the world.

But I wanted to do more. That’s how I ended up at Ecolab, working on dishwashers. You don’t think about it when you’re enjoying a meal at a restaurant with your family, but dishwashers are a big part of keeping our food safe. If the dishmachines don’t work correctly, food and bacteria can be left on silverware and plates, and you risk cross-contamination when dishes are rewashed or cleaned by hand.

That’s why we developed a high-tech dishwasher that cleans in 60 seconds compared to your home unit that cleans in 60 minutes. To make things even more interesting, each machine is monitored remotely by Ecolab, so we can alert our team and restaurants of potential issues even before things start going wrong. That’s just as much of an engineering challenge as designing any aerospace system – and just as satisfying.

And then there’s the greater impact in the world. Currently, there are more than 660,000 restaurants in the U.S. alone and almost every one of them has at least one dishmachine. With all those units in operation, there’s enormous potential for water and energy savings. For every new Ecolab EHT dishmachine we install, we save enough water to fill two backyard swimming pools every year and enough energy to drive a Toyota Prius 200 miles every day.

In other words, just by stepping outside the lines and thinking differently to build a better dishwasher, you can make a big difference.

I think about these things a lot, because I have a son, and the challenges of climate change and water scarcity aren’t going away. It’s up to us to solve the problems that his generation will face.

My son is 11, and he’s a budding engineer. He goes to a STEM school and asks me about the same things I used to wonder about. “Why don’t we have more electric cars? How do solar panels work? How does our dishwasher work?” With so many important questions, it’s great for me as a dad to have answers.

Jonathan Butwinick is the Research, Development & Engineering program leader for Ecolab’s dishmachine program. In this role, Jonathan leads the innovation pipeline, new product development, and the management of the current dishmachine portfolio for Ecolab’s situational foodservice business. He holds a Bachelor of Science from the University of Minnesota. 

Learn more about Ecolab’s work from their Chairman and CEO, Douglas M. Baker during the Friday morning Keynote at the 2018 Net Impact Conference. 

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