Site logo black Sustainable Development Summary 2019
Overview

Smurfit Kappa

A global leader in the design, manufacture and supply of sustainable paper-based packaging.

We have 46,000 people working at more than 350 production sites in 35 different countries. We are listed on the UK’s FTSE 100 index and last year our revenue topped €9 billion.

About Smurfit Kappa
Our purpose

Purpose

Our purpose is to meet the needs of our customers, to generate superior returns for our shareholders, and to invest in our people, the communities in which we operate and the environment.

A greener
bluer planet

We work on the principles of the circular economy. This means recovering, reusing and recycling materials; making the best use of our planet’s resources; reducing waste and CO2 emissions; and making fit-for-purpose packaging that does not create litter. Our strategic environmental priorities are Climate change, Forest, Water and Waste.

An impactful
business

We know that our commitment to sustainability gives us a competitive advantage. We use our size and resources to work with customers and suppliers, so we can all grow our businesses together. Our innovative fit-for-purpose packaging is designed to help our customers meet their sustainability targets.

An employer
of choice

We want to be a globally admired company, a great place to work, and an employer of choice for top talent. That’s not just about growing the business. We know our success is driven by our people and we will always make sure we look after their safety and well-being.

A city in clouds
Better Planet Packaging Initiative

Better Planet Packaging

reducing packaging waste

Our industry has a key role to play in reducing the amount of waste and litter in the world. We developed our Better Planet Packaging initiative to help our customers and consumers to understand the role Smurfit Kappa plays in addressing the issue of global waste. This initiative uses our industry-leading expertise in sustainable materials, design, and recycling to create more sustainable packaging for our customers, and for the planet.

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Tony Smurfit
Tony Smurfit

Group Chief Executive Officer

Tony Smurfit

Group Chief Executive Officer

CEO’s statement

Making solid progress
in our sustainability journey

Over the past decade, the world has woken up to the environmental challenges our planet faces. Companies are now integrating sustainability into their corporate strategy and business practices.

Welcome to Smurfit Kappa’s 13th annual Sustainable Development report. Our ambition is to be the most sustainable company in paper-based packaging. Our vision is to be a globally admired company, dynamically delivering secure and superior returns for all stakeholders. Both our sustainability and business performance during 2019 demonstrated the progress we have made towards realising that vision.

During 2019 we made further progress towards our sustainability goals: our paper mills have cut CO2 emissions by 33% since 2005; 92% of our products were Chain of Custody certified, which means we have end-to-end transparency across the supply chain; and we achieved a reduction of 35% in the water discharge Chemical Oxygen Demand (COD).

Rating agencies that measure performance on environmental, social and governance issues, such as Sustainalytics, consider us sustainability leaders; and recognition from the ‘Support the Goals’ initiative is proof that we are working towards the 2030 UN Sustainable Development Goals.

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Strategic priorities

Delivering a

better tomorrow

As a leader in sustainability, we focus on three key areas to drive our sustainable growth: Planet, People and Impactful Business.

Interact with the diagram to find out more about our strategies

Interact with the diagram to find out more about our strategies

A greener, bluer planet

We work on the principles of the circular economy. Our strategic environmental priorities are Climate change, Forest, Water and Waste.

Smurfit Kappa impacts
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Smurfit Kappa supports
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An employer of choice

We want to be recognised as a globally admired company, a great place to work, and an employer of choice for top talent. We focus on our People values, People strategy, Safety and well-being, and Communities.

Smurfit Kappa impacts
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Smurfit Kappa contributes
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Smurfit Kappa supports
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An impactful business

Our commitment to sustainability gives us a competitive advantage. Click the button to learn more about our Innovation, Governance and human rights, and Sustainable sourcing.

Smurfit Kappa contributes
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Smurfit Kappa supports
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SDG 15
SDG 14
SDG 13
SDG 12
SDG 7

A greener,
bluer planet

SDG 06
SDG 10
SDG 05
SDG 04
SDG 03
SDG 02
SDG 01

An employer
of choice

An employer
of choice

SDG 09
SDG 16
SDG 17
SDG 11
SDG 08

An impactful
business

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Case studies

Taking part in a global effort to pick up litter on World Cleanup Day

Over 8,000 of our employees came together to take part in World Cleanup Day – a global social event encouraging people to pick up litter. We collected over 10,000 bags of litter from beaches, rivers, parks, streets and woodlands. A group from the UK even took to their kayaks to remove litter from the sea.

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Harnessing the power of the sun for our laboratories in Colombian forests

We manage 45,000 hectares of pine and eucalyptus plantations and 22,000 hectares of protected natural forest in Colombia; as well as nurseries and laboratories supporting sustainable forest management and health of the tree species.
Last year, we installed solar panels to power the laboratories at the Rancho Grande estate. The project team said: “It is nice to use the same power for our laboratories as our trees use to grow.”

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planet
Reduction of relative CO2 emissions
-32.9%
Packaging solutions sold as Chain of Custody certified
92.1%
forest image Strategic priorities

A greener,

bluer planet

Our operations are based on a circular economy. This means making the best use of resources; recovering, reusing and recycling materials; and reducing our waste and CO2 emissions. It also means supplying fit-for-purpose packaging which avoids waste and litter.

Key Principles

We replace the natural resources we use, and reuse or recycle wherever we can. Our circular business model starts with renewable and sustainable raw materials. We use organic by-products as biofuel, reuse water, and work with local organisations to find alternative uses for materials we cannot reuse. Making our packaging from just one material makes it easier to recycle after use.

Achievements 2019

We have cut CO2 emissions by almost a third since 2005, installing new boilers, improving energy efficiency, and using combined heat and power. More than 92% of our packaging is Chain of Custody certified. We have invested €79 million since 2005 to improve our water treatment, and have reduced waste sent to landfill by 7% since 2013.

Reduction of relative CO2 emissions
-32.9%
Packaging solutions sold as Chain of Custody certified
92.1%

Delivering for SDGs

Smurfit Kappa impacts

As an energy-intensive manufacturing business, we are working hard to reduce the environmental impact of our operations. We help our customers reduce their environmental impact with our renewable, recyclable and biodegradable packaging.

Smurfit Kappa impacts

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Smurfit Kappa Supports

We support communities with paper recycling. Our products help cut the amount of microplastics entering the sea; and our Better Planet Packaging raises awareness in this area.

Smurfit Kappa Supports

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Climate change

Climate change is a global challenge, which requires a global response. At Smurfit Kappa, we are continually improving the efficiency of our manufacturing processes and helping our customers reduce their carbon footprint in line with the Sustainable Development Goal 13. We regularly communicate on our progress in this area to our customers and investors.

Climate change

Climate change is a global challenge, which requires a global response. At Smurfit Kappa, we are continually improving the efficiency of our manufacturing processes and helping our customers reduce their carbon footprint in line with the Sustainable Development Goal 13. We regularly communicate on our progress in this area to our customers and investors.

Commitment #1

We will achieve a 40% reduction in our scope 1 and 2 fossil fuel-based CO2 emissions, compared to levels in 2005.

Timeframe

By 2030

Progress Made

Since 2005 we have reached a 32.9% reduction.

Commitment #2

We will collaborate with customers to map the carbon footprint of the packaging life cycle.

Timeframe

Continuous.

Progress Made

Our tools that help determine the carbon footprint of our customers’ packaging were used on average 11,000 times a day.

Commitment #3

We will assess the opportunities to cut energy use in converting operations in selected countries.

Timeframe

By 2020

Progress Made

Project is ongoing.

Using our global expertise to enhance efficiency on a local project in Mexico

“We faced a big challenge, but also an opportunity”, says Alfredo Leal at our Los Reyes Paper Mill in Mexico. He wanted to replace the plant’s 50-year-old boxboard machine with a rebuilt containerboard machine, to better serve our paper needs and improve integration with our corrugated division.

The team consulted colleagues around the world to discover a number of design improvements, which led to a 13% reduction in CO2 emissions per tonne of paper.

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Forest

We balance the use of virgin and recycled fibres to maintain a positive and sustainable balance of renewable raw materials. We have committed to a complete Chain of Custody certified sourcing and manufacturing chain, from fibres to the packaging solutions.

Forest

We balance the use of virgin and recycled fibres to maintain a positive and sustainable balance of renewable raw materials. We have committed to a complete Chain of Custody certified sourcing and manufacturing chain, from fibres to the packaging solutions.

Commitment #1

All of the fibre we produce and purchase will be Chain of Custody certified under Forest Stewardship Council® (FSC), Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification™ (PEFC) or the Sustainable Forestry Initiative® (SFI).

Timeframe

Continuous

Progress Made

99.8% of the fibres we buy or produce are Chain of Custody certified.

Commitment #2

Over 90% of our packaging will be Chain of Custody certified under FSC, PEFC or SFI.

Timeframe

Continuous

Progress Made

In 2019, 92.1% of our packaging sold was Chain of Custody certified.

Commitment #3

All our production sites will use FSC, PEFC and/or SFI Chain of Custody standards.

Timeframe

Continuous

Progress Made

All of our sites have been Chain of Custody certified.

Mapping a proven trail for sustainable fibres with Chain of Custody certification

Transparency throughout the supply chain is vital to delivering our sustainability commitments. We are committed to maintaining robust monitoring and third-party auditing of our supply chain, ensuring sourced fibre complies with our sustainability principles.

Our people who work in production plants are trained to ensure they know the material they work with and that it is sustainably sourced. Customers receive a guarantee that our product originates from a Chain of Custody certified source, verified throughout the supply chain.

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Water

Without water we cannot produce paper. It plays a critical role in pulping wood fibres and forming paper. We use the best possible water treatment processes in our operations to improve the quality of our discharged water, and carry out risk assessments on water availability.

Water

Without water we cannot produce paper. It plays a critical role in pulping wood fibres and forming paper. We use the best possible water treatment processes in our operations to improve the quality of our discharged water, and carry out risk assessments on water availability.

Commitment #1

We will reduce the organic content of water (COD) returned to the environment from our mill plants by 60% compared to levels in 2005.

Timeframe

By 2025

Progress Made

Since 2005 we have reached a 35% reduction.

Commitment #2

We will assess the environmental impact of the water use at our sites, wherever it is relevant, and develop measurements for water usage.

Timeframe

By 2020

Progress Made

In 2019 and early 2020, ten sites were assessed. The project will be finished by the end of 2020.

Sharing the benefits of water treatment with the local community in Spain

Some of our sites such as our SK Nervión paper mill in Spain, collaborates with the municipalities for synergies in water treatment. Bacteria is used in biological water treatment. To be able to work and clean the water, bacteria needs specific nutrients.

Pilar Veiga, Quality and Environmental Manager of SK Nervión, says: “Our paper mill effluent naturally has all the nutrients the bacteria need. Therefore, our effluent helps the municipality water treatment work better and more cost-efficiently.”

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Waste

Using materials efficiently is critical in a circular economy. We continually find new ways to reuse, recycle and recover materials, to bring an end to the linear economy where products end up in landfill. Our fit-for-purpose packaging protects products from damage to prevent waste.

Waste

Using materials efficiently is critical in a circular economy. We continually find new ways to reuse, recycle and recover materials, to bring an end to the linear economy where products end up in landfill. Our fit-for-purpose packaging protects products from damage to prevent waste.

Commitment

We will reduce the waste we send to landfill by 30% per tonne of products we produce, compared to levels in 2013.

Timeframe

By 2025

Progress Made

Since 2013, we reached a 7.1% reduction.

Using our sludge to power boilers instead of sending it to landfill

The SK Cali plant in Colombia had a problem with its sludge – a by-product of water treatment – which was too wet and a huge weight to send to landfill. The mill started testing a new screw press to remove the excess water, and achieved 50% dry solid consistency helping to significantly reduce the waste weight. The team is now researching uses for the compressed sludge, like burning it in the lime kiln, or creating a pelletized fuel for the boiler.

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planet
Reduction of the Total Recordable Injury Rate since 2018
17%
Social investment in 2019
€3.5 million
forest image Strategic priorities

An employer

of choice

We want to be recognised around the world as a great place to work and an employer of choice for top talent. As a growing business, we depend on our highly motivated and much valued team across the globe.

Key Principles

Employees who find meaning in their work are happier, more productive, and more engaged. People who believe their job has a broader purpose are more likely to work harder, take on challenging or unpopular tasks, and collaborate effectively. Our defined vision gives our people this sense of purpose, and we make sure we look after their health, safety and wellbeing.

Achievements 2019

In 2019, we evolved our People Strategy to ensure that we attract and retain the best talent in all our locations. Our strategy is focused on four key areas: Employee Experience for Performance; Inclusion, Diversity and Belonging; People Development and Talent Management; and Rewards and Recognition. We also reduced our Total Recordable Injury Rate by 17% compared with 2018.

Reduction of the Total Recordable Injury Rate since 2018
17%
Social investment in 2019
€3.5 million

Delivering for SDGs

Smurfit Kappa impacts

The priority for all our stakeholders is the Health and Safety of everyone on our sites and we aim to reduce accidents to zero.

Smurfit Kappa impacts

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Smurfit Kappa Contributes

We create decent work and deliver economic growth in all the communities where we are located. We are committed to delivering a diverse workplace where everyone has a real sense of belonging and to reducing inequality.

Smurfit Kappa Contributes

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Smurfit Kappa Supports

We support the UN’s SDGs with the Smurfit Kappa Foundation, which is focused on disadvantaged children’s health and nutrition, basic care, and early education.

Smurfit Kappa Supports

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People values

Our values are at the heart of how we manage our people. We recognise that good social citizenship, shown in our interactions with employees, business partners and host communities, is essential to creating a sustainable future.

People values

Our values are at the heart of how we manage our people. We recognise that good social citizenship, shown in our interactions with employees, business partners and host communities, is essential to creating a sustainable future.

Commitment #1

We will stimulate and encourage employee engagement through regular surveys and follow-ups.

In 2019, MyVoice pulse surveys were conducted with targeted employee groups to measure progress in projects launched after the 2017 MyVoice engagement survey.

Commitment #2

We will maintain a good faith ‘Whistleblower Code’ for reporting any unethical or illegal conduct.

During 2019, the Group worked on the introduction of its new Group Ethics Management processes and governance, including an updated Code of Business Conduct and a third-party online tool for whistleblower and good-faith reporting called ’Speak Up’.

Our global training programmes offer everyone the chance to make a difference

The Advanced Management Development training programme helps participants learn about teamwork, project management, leadership, and deliver fresh ideas for our Group to implement.

In 2019, a team of colleagues from Mexico, Italy, Colombia, Poland and Belgium developed a plan for how our Group can benefit from the opportunities offered by an enhanced approach to Inclusion and Diversity. The project was well received by the Executive Team and its ideas will be incorporated into our Inclusion and Diversity work in the coming year.

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People strategy

We have further developed our people strategy for 2020–2023 to ensure that the business is set for success. At the core of our strategy are our five fundamentals: Safety and Well-being; Legal Framework; Industrial Relations; HR Information Systems; and Internal Communications. These provide us with a way of working that benefits all our people and our wider business.

People strategy

We have further developed our people strategy for 2020–2023 to ensure that the business is set for success. At the core of our strategy are our five fundamentals: Safety and Well-being; Legal Framework; Industrial Relations; HR Information Systems; and Internal Communications. These provide us with a way of working that benefits all our people and our wider business.

Commitment

We ensure that people at all levels of our organisation have the opportunity to broaden their skills and knowledge, fulfil their potential, and improve their career prospects. We compensate fairly, review performance regularly, and offer gender-neutral career opportunities and pay.

Celebrating achievement and inspiring others at our first Recycled Paper West Innovation Awards

Last year, representatives from the Recycled Paper West team's eight isolated mills spread across France, Italy, Serbia, Spain and the UK came together to meet and celebrate their achievements at their first ever Innovation Awards. The Avignon team won the overall prize, for extending their machine to a 2.8m paper width, which increases the range of products that can be produced. The Awards have encouraged the mills to share good practice and inspire one another with innovative ideas.

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Safety and well-being

We place the safety and well-being of our staff at the forefront of everything we do. Our ‘Safety for Life’ initiative focuses on our ambition to make sure our people return home safely to their families every day.

Safety and well-being

We place the safety and well-being of our staff at the forefront of everything we do. Our ‘Safety for Life’ initiative focuses on our ambition to make sure our people return home safely to their families every day.

Commitment

We will maintain a productive and safe workplace by minimising the risk of accidents, injury and exposure to health hazards for all our people and sub-contractors, with the ambition of reducing accidents to zero. We are committed to reducing our Total Recordable Injury Rate (TRIR) by 5% every year.

Timeframe

Continuous with annual target.

Progress Made

In 2019, we reduced our TRIR by 17%.

A new strategy to reduce stigma around mental health in our UK operations

There was a warm reception for our UK Mental Health and Wellbeing strategy when it was launched in April. Almost 200 colleagues volunteered to be Mental Health First Aiders and were taught how to spot early problems, approach people, create safe spaces, and signpost appropriate services. Jackie McDermott, Head of Engagement and Communication in the UK, says: “The initiative is definitely helping to reduce stigma and allows colleagues to quickly access vital help.”

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Communities

We actively support the communities we operate in through the Smurfit Kappa Foundation. Committed to making positive, long-lasting changes, we focus on self-help initiatives, education and health programmes. We contribute both financial donations and volunteers from our local sites.

Communities

We actively support the communities we operate in through the Smurfit Kappa Foundation. Committed to making positive, long-lasting changes, we focus on self-help initiatives, education and health programmes. We contribute both financial donations and volunteers from our local sites.

Commitment

We actively support the communities we operate in through the Smurfit Kappa Foundation. Committed to making positive, long-lasting changes, we focus on self-help initiatives, education and health programmes. We contribute both financial donations and volunteers from our local sites.

In 2019, €3.5 million was donated in cash and kind.

An award-winning programme to help Colombia’s rural communities transform themselves

Our Foundation spent over €1.1 million on social development projects in Colombia over the past year. “We work with rural communities that lack opportunities, and where citizens are rarely consulted on development projects,” says Beatriz Mejía, Director of the Smurfit Kappa Colombia Foundation. “That’s why they’re so enthusiastic when they can propose ways to improve their lives.” In 2019, our ‘Integral Territorial Development’ programme was awarded the prestigious RedEAmérica CSR award for community development.

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planet
Customers welcomed on Global BPP day
+650
Awards won in 2019
63
forest image Strategic priorities

An impactful

business

Our focus on sustainability adds value to our products. Our innovative designs reduce the raw materials used in our packaging, helping our customers deliver on their sustainability targets. We help our customers and suppliers grow their businesses sustainably.

Key Principles

We work hard to make sure our sustainability performance is measurable, transparent and tangible for all our stakeholders, and we report our progress annually. We believe that through innovation we can add sustainable value to our customers. We recognise that good social citizenship is an integral part of creating a sustainable future. We believe that ethical business conduct must be promoted at the most senior levels of the company, and fostered throughout the organisation.

Achievements 2019

Our leadership in innovation was recognised with 63 national and international awards for packaging innovation, sustainability, design and print, in Argentina, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Bulgaria, Colombia, the Czech Republic, France, Ireland, Mexico, the Netherlands, Russia, Sweden and the UK. We are listed on the FTSE4Good and Ethibel’s sustainable investment register, and were included in the Solactive ISS ESG Beyond Plastic Waste Index.

Customers welcomed on Global BPP day
+650
Awards won in 2019
63

Delivering for SDGs

Smurfit Kappa Contributes

We have a positive impact in the communities where we work, through our products and production, our respect for people, and responsible governance.

Smurfit Kappa Contributes

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Smurfit Kappa Supports

We support our local communities with paper recycling operations, which form an integral part of the infrastructure for sustainable communities. We promote responsible governance throughout our company, which indirectly supports peaceful societies.

Smurfit Kappa Supports

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Innovation

We are proud of the collaborative approach we take with customers, working together to develop packaging that adds value to their supply chain. By understanding their entire supply chains, we are able to identify opportunities where we can improve sustainability with the greatest impact.

Innovation

We are proud of the collaborative approach we take with customers, working together to develop packaging that adds value to their supply chain. By understanding their entire supply chains, we are able to identify opportunities where we can improve sustainability with the greatest impact.

Commitment

  • Our Better Planet Packaging initiative
  • Our data on processes, products, supply chains, logistics and markets
  • Our set of Smart Tools supporting innovation and design

Removing plastics in banana farming with an innovative use of paper

Bananas must be ‘bagged’ during growth to produce high quality fruit. A cover, normally plastic, is placed over ripening bananas to protect them from insects and damage. A producer of organic bananas for the European market wanted to take their sustainable farming further and remove all plastic from the farming process. So Smurfit Kappa Sangüesa created the BanaBag® – a biodegradable and recyclable paper tube that can be pulled over banana bunches and cut where needed.

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Governance and
human rights

We believe ethical business conduct must be promoted from the most senior levels of the business and fostered throughout the organisation. We are committed to the highest standards of corporate governance and ethical business conduct across the Group, from the boardroom to the factory floor.

Governance and
human rights

We believe ethical business conduct must be promoted from the most senior levels of the business and fostered throughout the organisation. We are committed to the highest standards of corporate governance and ethical business conduct across the Group, from the boardroom to the factory floor.

Commitment

  • Our Code of Business Conduct is publicly available
  • Our stakeholders adhere to the principles of the Code
  • We offer an independent and unbiased channel to raise any concerns about breaches to the Code

During 2019, the Group worked on the introduction of its new Group Ethics Management processes and governance, including an updated Code of Business Conduct and a third-party online tool for whistleblower and good-faith reporting called ’Speak Up’ services.

Giving children a better start in life by supporting the charity Copame

Copame’s facility can host 45 orphaned, abandoned or maltreated children, offering more than just a place to stay. Since 1987, the charity has found placement homes for 297 of the children. Smurfit Kappa Foundation supports the upkeep of the site, which includes residential and play facilities as well as an on-site bakery, which supplies bread to the area and is an important source of income. Other financial support comes from donations, fees and the municipality.

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Sustainable sourcing

Sourcing materials, goods and services is our single largest cost as a company. Sustainable sourcing is therefore an integral part of our sustainability vision and strategy. We want to sustainably grow our business and supply chain. That means our materials, goods and services are not only the right price and quality, but should also be sourced securely and responsibly.

Sustainable sourcing

Sourcing materials, goods and services is our single largest cost as a company. Sustainable sourcing is therefore an integral part of our sustainability vision and strategy. We want to sustainably grow our business and supply chain. That means our materials, goods and services are not only the right price and quality, but should also be sourced securely and responsibly.

Commitment

We will work with suppliers that adhere to our Sustainable Sourcing Policy, our Supplier Code of Conduct, which are Chain of Custody certified, where applicable, and that comply with our Modern Slavery Act Statement. We will audit suppliers regularly, based on our key sustainable sourcing principles.

Timeframe

Continuous

Progress Made

We audited 112 suppliers during 2019.

Showing our commitment to the circular economy with a new recycling plant in Italy

Our newest recycling depot in Marlia, Italy, means we can use locally-recovered paper instead of raw materials from far away, saving on fuel and overall CO2 emissions. We used a range of methods to raise awareness about recycling in the area, including school visits and a local clean-up day. We worked with schools, the council, supermarkets and businesses to collect used paper and board, which is made into new containerboard.

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UN SDGs

Sustainability

in every fibre

Working towards sustainability goals creates new business opportunities and drives innovation. At the same time, it requires all parts of society to set common targets. The UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) provide us with these common targets, and we will play our part in making many them a reality.

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