2019 Sustainability Report

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

Strategic Priorities

From our material topics to our strategic priorities, Greif’s sustainability strategies support our fundamental vision of, in industrial packaging, be the best performing customer service company in the world and our commitment to conducting business The Greif Way. Our sustainability efforts contribute to our commitment to creating shared value for our customers, stakeholders and the environment. We invite you to explore our strategic integration graphic, which demonstrates the interconnectedness of Greif’s sustainability program across our entire business.
In 2019, we surveyed 18 of Greif’s senior leaders to better understand how Greif uses and transforms financial, manufactured, intellectual, human, social and natural capital to create value for our company. These conversations reinforced the importance of our sustainability investments in executing our business strategies and will help inform how we further integrate sustainability into our business.

Sustainability Strategies

Valuing Our People
  • Health & Safety
  • Human Rights & Fair Labor Practices
  • Talent Attraction, Development & Retention

The Greif Way

  • Ethical
  • Strong Through Diversity

2025 Goals

  • 2025 Goals
  • 100 percent of permanent employees will participate in regular performance development discussions by the end of fiscal year 2025.
  • Using fiscal year 2017 baseline, increase average hours of annual training per employee by 50 percent by the end of fiscal year 2025.
  • 100 percent of employees will be covered by parental leave by the end of fiscal year 2025.
  • Reduce Medical Case Rate by 10 percent annually to achieve 100 percent safety – Medical Case Rate Zero – in the long term.
  • Every plant will have a collaborative environmental health and safety committee consisting of both management and workers by the end of fiscal year 2025.
  • 100 percent of our operations will be subject to internal human rights reviews, measured on a rolling cycle, by the end of fiscal year 2025.
  • 100 percent of employees will be trained in human rights policies and procedures by the end of fiscal year 2025.
  • Using fiscal year 2017 baseline, increase the proportion of women in management positions by 25 percent by the end of fiscal year 2025.

Sustainability Strategies

Delivering Superior Customer Service
  • Customer Service Excellence
  • Product Quality
Reducing Our Footprint
  • Supply Chain Management
Addressing Risk
  • Risk Management & Business Continuity
Circular Economy
  • End-of-Life Reconditioning, Reuse & Recycling
  • Innovation

The Greif Way

  • Ethical
  • Serious About Sustainability
  • Committed to Continuous Improvement

2025 Goals

  • Using a fiscal year 2017 baseline, reduce raw materials/logistical costs used to produce current product offering by one percent by the end of fiscal year 2025.
  • Move from non-green (oil-based, more energy intensive) to green material sourcing if it is economically feasible and doing so provides high quality products to our customers by the end of fiscal year 2025.

Sustainability Strategies

Addressing Risk
  • Ethics & Compliance
  • Security
Financial Performance & Profitable Growth
Reducing Our Footprint
  • Biodiversity
  • Climate Strategy, Energy & Emissions
  • Environmental Management Systems
  • Waste
  • Water

The Greif Way

  • Ethical
  • Strong through Diversity
  • Serious About Sustainability
  • Committed to Continuous Improvement

2025 Goals

  • 10 percent reduction in energy and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions per unit of production, from a fiscal 2014 baseline.* (* 2020 Goal)
  • Reduce Biochemical Oxygen Demand (BOD) discharged in kilograms by 10 percent per metric ton of production from Riverville and Massillon mills using a 2014 baseline by the end of fiscal year 2025.
  • Divert 90 percent of waste from landfills from all Greif production facilities globally by the end of fiscal year 2025.
  • Provide online training of the Greif Code of Business Conduct and Ethics to 100 percent of employees with access to computers by the end of fiscal year 2025.
  • Provide training and information on the Greif Anti-bribery Policy to 100 percent of employees for whom training is relevant by the end of fiscal year 2025.
  • Provide online training of the Fair Treatment of Employees Policy to 100 percent of employees with access to computers and provide accessible and traceable information to all employees by the end of fiscal year 2025.
Invest in our people and teams to foster a strong culture of employee engagement and accountability.
Deliver industry leading customer service excellence to achieve superior customer satisfaction and loyalty.
Strive for and realize performance excellence and value creation.
In industrial packaging, be the best performing customer service company in the world.

Financial Capital

Key material topics: Innovation, Financial Performance, Ethics & Compliance, Security, Product Quality

The need to invest and be in a financial position to be competitive is at the heart of Greif’s operations. Our ability to generate financial capital is dependent on efficient operations, attracting and retaining a skilled workforce, continuing to innovate to meet our customers’ expectations, and maintaining the trust of our customers. Effectively achieving each of these both requires investment and is necessary to generate financial returns.

Human Capital

Key material topics: Talent Attraction, Development & Retention, Health & Safety, Human Rights & Fair Labor Practices, Customer Service Excellence, Financial Performance

Despite the increasing availability of technologies that could allow us to automate some of our operations, there continues to be a strong, and growing, demand for skilled labor in our organization. Our investments in training and development are aimed at providing our over 17,000 employees with the skills they need to perform their jobs, serve our customers and move our company into the future. Collectively, our people have the capability to impact our performance across all forms of capital more than any other form of capital.  

Social Capital

Key material topics: Customer Service Excellence, Cradle-to-Cradle Reconditioning, Reuse & Recycling, Innovation, Ethics & Compliance

As a global organization, we must maintain the trust of a large and complex group of stakeholders. Whether through collaboration with our customers, partnerships we establish with academic institutions and other NGOs, or any other interaction we have with our stakeholders, we work to instill high quality relationships by demonstrating our commitment to The Greif Way and responsible business practices. Our sustainability initiatives help us communicate these commitments and directly impacts our brand, reputation and willingness for customers to do business with us.

Intellectual Capital

Key material topics: Innovation, Supply Chain Management

Innovation and new technologies have the potential to be great differentiators. Our dedicated innovation activities, thought leadership and collaboration with customers and other external stakeholders are critical elements of developing, demonstrating and leveraging our intellectual capital. Focusing on innovation and developing our intellectual capital allows us to identify new business models and solutions that will lead to new opportunities that can positively impact Greif’s financials. As many of our customers set long-term goals, particularly on environmental topics such as energy, emissions, waste and reducing plastics, we are positioning ourselves, and our products, to help them meet their objectives.

Manufactured Capital

Key material topics: Product Quality, Supply Chain Management, Cradle-to-Cradle Reconditioning, Reuse & Recycling, Risk Management & Business Continuity

Greif’s global footprint is a key differentiator and critical component to how we protect and grow our business. Our investments in and maintenance of our facilities, production lines and capabilities and products we manufacture are directly tied to our ability to generate revenue, but also provide an opportunity to operate more efficiently, minimize our risk exposure and reduce our environmental impact by applying circular economy principles and executing on our strategies to reduce our footprint.  

Natural Capital

Key material topics: Environmental Management Systems, Climate Strategy, Energy & Emissions, Water, Waste, Biodiversity, Innovation, Supply Chain Management, Cradle-to-Cradle Reconditioning, Reuse & Recycling

Greif relies heavily on the use of natural resources in our business. Through the materials we source, manufacturing processes we implement and logistics that enable our supply chain, we have a responsibility to minimize our reliance on natural resources, and reduce our footprint, as much as possible. Over time, as natural resources become more constrained and regulations over the use of them continue to advance, these resources will become more valuable and organizations that have worked to responsibly manage, and minimize use, of them where possible will be better positioned to compete. Each of our sustainability strategies to reduce our footprint and advance circular economy principles is aimed at reducing our use of natural capital, engaging our customers and supply chain to do the same and establishing partnerships that will help us advance these priorities more quickly.   


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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.