2019 Sustainability Report

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

Stakeholder Engagement & Materiality

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Changes in reporting

GRI
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We published our first sustainability report in 2009. While Greif has experienced incredible success these past 11 years, we continue to evolve and refine the way we approach sustainability. In 2019, we enhanced the sustainability programs that make our company efficient, enhanced the management of our material topics, engaged colleagues on sustainability and worked to integrate our new colleagues from Caraustar into our organization and our sustainability strategies. Our 2019 GRI Core report showcases our accomplishments and progress on our long-term sustainability goals.

 

Value Chain

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Supply chain

GRI
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Greif’s value chain consists of raw material suppliers, transportation and distribution partners, customers, end-of-life services and external stakeholders that influence our activities.

Materiality Assessment Process

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Identifying and selecting stakeholders

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Approach to stakeholder engagement

GRI
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102-43

In 2017, Greif conducted our first materiality assessment to identify and prioritize our material sustainability topics, identify and engage our key stakeholders and inform our sustainability strategies, reporting and communications. The assessment was led by a third-party and conducted in accordance with industry best practices for material topic identification and stakeholder engagement. As part of the materiality process we:

  • Mapped our value chain and identified key stakeholders along it
  • Reviewed a wide range of source documents to determine potentially material topics, including:
  • Greif's vision, strategic priorities, CEO scorecard, business unit strategies and colleagues engagement survey
  • Customer satisfaction survey results
  • Peer sustainability reports
  • ESG investment analyst reports
  • Industry association priorities
  • Global sustainability trend reports
  • Conducted interviews and surveys with Greif leadership and external stakeholders and reviewed additional publicly available sources to collect feedback on potentially material topics
  • Consolidated feedback from interviews and surveys to identify our most material topics

Through the interview, survey and document review process, participants were asked to identify and provide specific evidence in support of the topics that posed the impact, risk and/or opportunity for Greif. Participants were ask to consider impact, risk and opportunity in terms of financial gains or losses, reputation and trends that may alter the way Greif creates value, and provide specific examples in support of their answers.

We began with 32 environmental, social, product, economic and governance topics and narrowed the list down to 16 topics during the stakeholder engagement process. These 16 topics represent the highest priority indicators to our stakeholders. The results of the assessment were reviewed and validated with Greif’s leadership during a third-party-led validation workshop and serve as the basis for our reporting.

In 2021, we will refresh our materiality assessment to understand how stakeholder expectations have evolved and account for the impact of Caraustar on our material topics.

Material Topics

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List of stakeholder groups

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Key topics and concerns raised

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Defining report content and topic Boundaries

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List of material topics

GRI
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102-44
102-46
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Our 16 most highly material issues identified through our materiality assessment process are described below and collectively form our sustainability strategies. The stakeholder engagement and materiality assessment process validated many topics that have historically been important to Greif and our stakeholders. Our sustainability reporting serves to address topics that are of high concern to each group, as indicated below. Our engagement yielded topic owners within Greif and goals for 2025. We continue to strengthen our approach to managing and addressing the opportunities available to our company. Throughout this report you will learn about our goals, management approach and performance for our material topics.

Material Topic Boundary Stakeholders Engaged, Types of Stakeholder Engagement & Concerns Raised
    Greif’s Board of
Directors & Leaders
Customers Investors Society/Community Environment
 Types of Engagement Daily interactions, impact mapping interviews, materiality assessment survey, quarterly updates on sustainabiltiy Daily interactions, bi-annual satisfaction, surveys, materiality assessment interviews Daily interactions, investor day events, materiality assessment interviews Community engagement (face-to-face meetings, interviews, survey), community service events Greif LCA, interviews with sustainability experts (e.g., WBCSD)
Delivering Superior Customer Experience
Product Quality
Producing products that maintain high performance and value through superior design and manufacturing across facilities, driving customer satisfaction and averting throw-away dynamics.
All internal operations; during use      
Customer Service Excellence
Creating effective policies, systems, best practices and incentives that drive the highest level of customer service; taking into account customer feedback regularly and having systems in place to address their needs; outperforming competitors.
All internal operations; all customers    
Reducing Our Footprint
Environmental Management Systems
Utilizing a comprehensive environmental management system with dedicated environmental management resources (i.e. personnel, budget, etc.), an environmental policy, certifications (e.g., ISO 14001) and compliance.
All internal operations  
Climate Strategy, Energy & Emissions
Creating a climate strategy to address risks, opportunities and impacts such as changes in energy and emissions regulation (carbon taxes, efficiency regulations, etc.), increasing operational costs, renewable energy, natural disaster preparedness and social impacts; managing and reducing energy use and greenhouse gas emissions.
All internal operations
Water
Reducing water use, particularly in facilities with significant water use and water stressed regions; returning wastewater to a safe state.
PPS operations  
Waste
Managing and reducing waste (hazardous and non-hazardous) in Greif’s operations; reducing waste to landfill; reclaiming waste and byproducts for beneficial reuse.
All internal operations  
Addressing Risk
Ethics & Compliance
Maintaining governance structures, practices and training that promotes ethical behavior and steering clear of anti-competitive behaviors (bribery, corruption, etc.).
All internal operations; all suppliers    
Risk Management & Business Continuity
Regularly conducting risk assessments that include environmental, social and governance factors: determining high-risk supplies (only one supplier), high risk/politically unstable regions (e.g., weather impacts in Houston) and potential labor-related work stoppages; putting plans in place to ensure uninterrupted supply, operations and delivery to customers (e.g., qualifying backup suppliers).
All internal operations; all suppliers    
Security
Adopting a proactive approach to information security—including personal data and intellectual property—taking into account not only Greif’s internal level of protection, but also the security of the entities with whom Greif is connected (suppliers, employees, customers, etc.); taking necessary measures to ensure that Greif’s customers’ customers receive what they order versus counterfeit products.
All internal operations      
Valuing Our People
Talent Attraction, Development & Retention
Attracting and retaining qualified and talented employees, managers and executives. Cultivating a culture of growth and development through education, training, mentorship, performance reviews, coaching, etc.
All internal operations    
Health & Safety
Promoting and practicing the highest standards of workplace health, safety and well-being through management systems, targets, policies, programs, trainings, certifications, audits and compliance.
All internal operations; Community  
Human Rights & Fair Labor Practices
Ensuring compliance with laws, standards and internal policies on topics within the realm of human rights and fair labor practices such as child labor, forced labor, fair remuneration, human trafficking, working conditions, freedom of association, collective bargaining, discrimination and conflict-free minerals.
All internal operations; all suppliers  
Advancing Circular Economy
Innovation
Carefully considering raw material inputs and alternative and recycled materials (e.g., post-consumer resins, water-based paints and linings, recycled wood pallets) based on environmental and social impacts; reducing the amount of materials used in Greif’s products; taking customers’ specific needs and Greif’s expertise and using that to drive innovative, customized solutions to drive business growth.
All internal operations; suppliers; customers  
Cradle to Cradle Reconditioning, Reuse, & Recycling
Advancing the circular economy within the packaging industry by taking actions that enable reconditioning, reuse and recycling of products at end of life, including avoiding mixtures of plastics and developing designs that enable recycling (e.g. fully recyclable fibre drums); educating and incentivizing customers to return/recycle Greif’s packaging materials; creating policies, processes, targets and tools to support these efforts.
Reconditioning operations; reconditioning partners; customers
Supply Chain Management
Screening, educating and auditing suppliers’ environmental practices; creating and enforcing environmental and social supply chain policies/standards.
All internal operations; all suppliers; trucking partners
Financial Performance & Profitable Growth
Financial Performance & Profitable Growth
Maintaining a sustainable business model by implementing integrated economic practices that allow Greif to provide economic value to its stakeholders (e.g. employees, suppliers, and shareholders) and invest in long-term growth.
All internal operations    

290

290 sites around the world

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17,000

Colleagues

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

142

Years of Experience

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

DEFINITION