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Our People

From Pine Trees to Packaging Leader: The Sonoco Story

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Founder’s Day is a chance to celebrate the accomplishments of the many faces of Sonoco. From our first patent to our global operations, we’re excited to celebrate our roots from 1899.  


Starting in our own backyard in Hartsville, SC, our founders saw potential in converting pine trees into paper cones and officially founded the Southern Novelty Company on May 10, 1899. 

Serving the textile industry, we issued our first patent in 1908 for the manufacture of paper cones for yarn winding machines. Soon, we expanded our product line to include tubes. With that growth came the opportunity to take on the identity we know today—Sonoco.  

World Stage. 

The end of World War I brought the opportunity to expand internationally to England in 1923. Reaching outside of our traditional customer base in textiles, Sonoco diversified our product line and increased our recovery and reuse of paper.  

In the years from 1930-1960, we significantly expanded our operations around the globe. We established additional international locations in Canada, Mexico, Brazil, Australia, New Zealand and additional European countries. Later, we expanded into Singapore, Hong Kong and other Asian countries. 

From the beginning, Sonoco has operated based on the belief that “People Build Businesses.” Viewing our people as our greatest resource led to providing good benefits, creating good working conditions and treating each employee fairly. Larger production demand only emphasized the importance of our employees—their safety, ideas, insight and more. By investing in our greatest resource, we have produced tremendous growth for more than 124 years—and we will continue for the next 124 years. 

Better Packaging. Better Life. 

Today, Sonoco operates in 32 countries with a team of over 22,000 supplying packaging to consumer, industrial and other markets. United together, Sonoco’s 300+ global operations function within a culture of respect, teamwork, service, integrity and accountability. 

Sonoco is dedicated to serving our customers, shareholders, employees and local and global communities. We’re aggressively pursuing ambitious 2030 sustainability commitments to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions and energy usage. We’re also investing in our core business to maintain our high-quality packaging solutions.  

We believe doing the right things means creating people- and planet-first packaging solutions that strengthen brands, serve communities and preserve our environment. Follow us as we lead the way to responsible packaging.