2019 Sustainability Report

arrow blueCommitted to using financial, natural and human resources wisely without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs

Governance, Policies & Partnerships


Executive-level responsibility for economic, environmental, and social topics


Sustainability reaches all levels of our organization. In 2016, we established board oversight of sustainability. The Board of Directors receives annual updates from the Senior Vice President, Rigid Industrial Packaging & Services (RIPS) and Global Sustainability on behalf of our 11-member Sustainability Steering Committee. The Committee, which includes representatives from Greif’s Executive Leadership Team (ELT), is tasked with further integrating sustainability into our strategy and operations, reviewing our sustainability progress and priorities biannually and ensuring accountability at all levels of our organization. The Board holds the Sustainability Committee accountable for reaching annual goals, which impacts the remuneration of Committee members and determines the level of funding for Greif’s sustainability programs. The Steering Committee guides the activities of our six-member Sustainability Management Team, which works with topic teams consisting of representatives from each region and business unit to drive facility level projects and priorities.

Sustainability Governance Structure

Corporate Policies

Values, principles, standards, and norms of behavior


We believe that behavior influences culture and culture determines performance. Our culture—and ethics and compliance expectations—are based on the principles set forth in The Greif Way. We practice these principles every day through the policies that govern our organization.


External initiatives


Greif seeks to actively engage with organizations to increase the reach of our sustainability efforts. Some of our key partnerships include:

Operation Clean Sweep

To expand our commitment to reducing waste, in 2017, Greif became a signatory to Operation Clean Sweep (OCS), an international program originally designed by the plastics industry and supported by The British Plastics Federation and PlasticsEurope to prevent pellet, flake and powder loss and the potential introduction of pellets to the marine environment where they create both a litter problem and a threat to sea life and wildlife. The essence of OCS is to help each segment of the plastics industry, including resin producers, transporters, bulk terminal operators and plastics processors, to implement good housekeeping and pellet, flake and powder containment practices towards achieving zero pellet, flake and powder loss.

For more information on our partnership with OCS, please visit our Waste page.

Pollinator Partnership

In 2009, our Soterra operations embarked on a multi-year study with the Pollinator Partnership and NAPCC, the world's foremost experts on pollination issues, to learn how pollinators impact wildlife food availability on timber landscapes, the added value of hosting honey bees and beekeepers on the landscape and to discover the best management practice for ecosystem services on forest landscapes. For more information, please visit our Biodiversity page.


The SmartWay Transport Partnership is an innovative collaboration between the freight industry and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA). It is a market-driven partnership aimed at helping businesses move goods in the cleanest, most efficient way possible. Its purpose is to accelerate the availability, adoption and market penetration of advanced fuel-efficient technologies and operational practices in the freight supply chain, while helping companies save fuel, lower costs and reduce adverse environmental impacts.

To improve efficiency and reduce greenhouse gas emissions from our vehicle fleet, Greif joined the SmartWay Transport Partnership in 2009. For more information about our partnership, please see our Climate Strategy, Energy & Emissions page.

UN Global Compact

Integrity and respect for people are Core Values for Greif, and we believe that social and environmental responsibility are aligned and essential for long-term sustainability. The United Nations Global Compact is a voluntary strategic policy initiative for businesses that are committed to aligning their operations and strategies with ten universally-accepted Principles in the areas of human rights, labor, environment and anti-corruption.

We consider these Principles to be a natural extension of our Code of Business Conduct and Ethics, which outlines our commitment to be open, honest and trustworthy in all of our dealings with all stakeholders. Our policies and procedures incorporate our commitment to human rights, freedom of association, excellence in environment and health and safety.

In April 2016, Greif became a signatory to the UN Global Compact, confirming our commitment to these Principles. Each year, we publish our Communication on Progress on the Ten Principles of the compact.

World Business Council for Sustainable Development

Greif is a member of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), a CEO-led global association of approximately 200 of the most environmentally-responsible companies in the world. Member companies are committed to providing business leadership as a catalyst for change toward sustainable development. Members are drawn from more than 30 countries and 20 major industrial sectors. We signed on to the organization's Manifesto for Energy Efficiency in Buildings (EEB).

Greif is proud to have hosted the first Midwest WBCSD conference in 2011, and again in 2012 and 2013, to discuss and share ideas and strategies about how to respond to some of the key environmental and business sustainability questions we face today and to share best practices. We are proud to have partnered with WBCSD to publish From Cradle to Grave: Greif's Life Cycle Analysis, a case study on how we implement Life Cycle Analysis in our business. In 2018 we joined WBCSD’s Factor 10 working group on circular economy. The following year, in 2019, we joined two groups, WBCSD’s ReScale group, which is focused on renewable energy, and the newly created Energy Solutions group. However, the Energy Solutions group, whose focus is on climate and energy, to better drive pre-competitive improvements across industries on these critical topics, officially launched at the start of 2020.

Trade Associations

Memberships of associations


As a leader in the global industrial packaging industry, Greif participates in trade associations to discuss relevant issues and opportunities and to continue to move the industry in a positive direction. Please review our Trade Associations for more information.


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Our people—principled, intelligent and reliable—reaffirm our reputation for integrity every day with their every action.


Years of Experience

For the past 142 years, the world’s most important products have travelled around the world in Greif industrial packaging.