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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 $2.9 million to nonprofit organizations around the world in 2016. 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.

"Our employees know that at every performance review, they are not only evaluated on their numbers, but also on their values." - Sonoco President and CEO Jack Sanders


TEACH Foundation

Through its TEACH Foundation, the Sonoco Foundation is improving academic achievement and personal development of elementary students in Hartsville, S.C. More than 6,500 students from four area elementary schools participated in the Comer School Development Program. On average, students increased reading scores by 12 points and math scores by 14 points on Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) testing.

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In After 180 Days: Hartsville/A Community Perspective, members of the Hartsville, S.C., community reflect on the local premiere of 180 Days: Hartsville. The PBS documentary, which aired nationally in March 2015, focused on a fifth grader struggling with behavioral issues throughout the 2013-14 school year, and the lives of educators, families and business leaders working hard to improve education for children below the poverty line in Hartsville, S.C. Sonoco invested $5 million through the TEACH Foundation to close the achievement gap in Hartsville’s public school system, and Hartsville now boasts a 92% graduation rate. The video above focuses on how Hartsville is using the program to develop the whole child, and includes an overview of a unique public-private partnership.

Sonoco Cares in the Community

Sonoco Cares, a team of volunteers created by Sonoco employees in 2014, continues to grow its work and expand to other Sonoco locations outside of the Hartsville, S.C., headquarters. More than 100 Sonoco Cares members have volunteered as mentors to young minds or with various non-profit organizations.

Hurricane Relief

After Hurricane Matthew devastated parts of the Southeastern U.S. in October 2016, affecting several Sonoco locations and employees, the Company donated $50,000 to the American Red Cross to aid relief efforts. Sonoco later made a $25,000 donation to OneSC, a fund to deliver aid to South Carolinians recovering from flooding disasters.

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

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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.


“I believe that diversity makes good companies, great, because it is a collective decision to better yourself. It is not limited to one business or product mix, but across all spectrums of our company. When diversity is embedded in your culture, like it is at Sonoco, it truly becomes foundational to your success.”- Sonoco President and CEO Jack Sanders

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. Last year, the Workforce Representation team attended 43 events on 26 college campuses with the intent to recruit a diverse workforce defined in terms of various demographics, thoughts and perspectives.

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. The group also hosts celebratory and educational events honoring Veterans and their service.

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.