Jump to main content

Social Responsibility

Community focused

Sonoco continues its strong support through partnerships and community collaboration, education, health and welfare, arts and culture, and the environment.

The Sonoco Foundation

Sonoco believes that we have an inherent responsibility to help improve the quality of life in the communities in which we serve. The Sonoco Foundation, Sonoco’s philanthropic arm, donated approximately $2.5 million to nonprofit organizations around the world in 2017. The Company’s employees also contributed time, funds and talents to a multitude of worthy causes, including volunteering, serving on boards, raising funds and participating in other civic-oriented projects.

"Finding our true purpose as individuals can be life-changing. We all search for our purpose with varying degrees of success, but I like to believe the journey alone has its own value. What we learn about ourselves and others along the way helps to define who we are, what we stand for and what we believe in and helps shape our character. The same holds true when searching for the purpose of an organization. Luckily, we have found ours and have defined it as Better Packaging. Better Life."

--Rob Tiede, Sonoco President and CEO


Sonoco FRESH

Each year, the food industry loses $15.6 billion due to food spoilage at retail. Modifying packaging design to extend shelf life by even one day could recover $1.8 billion of that loss -- while feeding more people and reducing waste to landfills.

To that end, Sonoco is sponsoring a new research partnership with Clemson University: The Sonoco FRESH (Food Research Excellence for Safety and Health) initiative, which will develop new technologies and new forms of packaging to optimize the fresh food lifecycle. The 5-year sponsorship has a total value of $2,725 million, and is an extension of the partnership that created the Sonoco Institute of Packaging Design and Graphics at Clemson. 

Sonoco Cares in the Community

Sonoco employees interested in giving back to their communities can volunteer with Sonoco Cares, a grassroots group that is now a formal part of Sonoco's Diversity and Unity Council. When it started in 2015, Sonoco Cares had 39 employees who donated 450 hours of community service that year. By 2017, 115 members logged more than 900 hours of community service and raised more than $4,000 for charity.

Group activities include serving at the local soup kitchen, collection and sorting donations for the regional food bank, volunteering at the Boys and Girls Club, donating Christmas gifts to 66 needy children, caring for animals at the Humane Society, and raising money for Carolina Kids, a local charity that sends food home from school with hungry children. The group also raised awareness of volunteering opportunities with an MLK Week of Service in 2017 that encouraged participation far beyond the normal community of volunteers.

Sonoco employees also donate money to causes close to their hearts. In 2017, employees raised $34,260 for disaster victims via the Red Cross. And when an earthquake struck Mexico City, where many Sonoco employees live and work, employees around the world donated $11,250 to help their affected colleagues get back on their feet.

The Packaging Industry's Most Admired

Sonoco was selected for Fortune's World's Most Admired Companies and named first in the packaging sector. Among industry peers, we ranked first in nearly every category -- including Innovation, Use of Corporate Assets, Social Responsibility, Financial Soundness, Long-term Investment Value, Quality of Products/Services and Global Competitiveness. Fortune's World's Most Admired Companies list is the definitive report card on corporate reputation.

Supplier Sustainability Awards

Sonoco’s supplier sustainability awards program, now in its fifth year, recognizes suppliers who demonstrate clear differentiation from their competitors with measurable, strategic, and transparent social, diversity, and environmental responsibility efforts. The 2017 award recipients are: Bristol Global Mobility, Pro Label Inc., Superior Group, Mondi Group and CARLSON WAGONLIT. 

Major Gifts

Sonoco did not make contributions of expenditures toward the influence of an issue or topic requiring lobbying efforts in 2017.

Print Page

Total Safety 

Creating a zero-injury environment is always Sonoco’s ultimate goal—and a key focus area of the Company. Our people are the single most important aspect of our business. We believe the most basic form of respect we can show to others is to guarantee their personal safety. This means, at Sonoco, we encourage each other to work safely every day and make good decisions. Having a sound and proven safety process is a cornerstone of world-class performing companies. We seek the best practices from experts and high-performing companies around the world, then use these best practices as we craft our own processes. We also continue to build a high-performing team of safety professionals. Several divisions have each added new safety professionals within the past year. This expertise will help lead innovation in our safety efforts. What we achieve is based on the commitment, focus, drive, innovation and dedication of our people to relentlessly pursue excellence.

Key talent metric

Sonoco strives to achieve a 95% retention rate for our high-performing and high-potential talent. Our retention rates in 2014-2017 were 98.6%, 95.8%, 95.2% and 94.5%, respectively.


The Sonoco Diversity and Unity Council seeks to create a diverse workforce within an inclusive environment by sponsoring and guiding activities of several affinity teams and fostering diversity and inclusion education, awareness and communication throughout Sonoco, including through the Workforce Environment Team, Workforce Representation Team, Sonoco Young Professionals and the Military Professionals Group.

Through quarterly cultural awareness events, the Workforce Environment Team’s goal is to understand, respect and value differences, as well as similarities, and to create a more engaging and productive workplace. 

The Military Professionals Group continues to grow and support Veterans and educates non-Veterans on issues facing this community. Representatives of the team contact current Veteran employees directly through new hire orientation and one-on-one communications with associates who have more than one year of service with Sonoco. For the past two years, Sonoco has been named a "Best for Vets" company by Military Times, joining well-known organizations such as Kellogg, AT&T, Hilton and The Boeing Company. Best for Vets rankings evaluate company culture, veteran recruiting, veteran policies and accommodations for members of the National Guard and reserves.

The Young Professionals team serves as an “innovation station” for Sonoco’s youngest professionals to collaborate, innovate and ideate. Last year, the team implemented the ‘SYP Spotlight’ program, highlighting one outstanding young professional each month who has gone above and beyond normal job responsibilities.

Sonoco will continue to consciously provide support to programs that attract diverse associates—because bringing new perspectives into our community brings new ideas to the table.