2019 Sustainability Report

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

Climate Strategy, Energy & Emissions

Driving operational change in a changing world.

United Nations Sustainable Development Goalsindustry, innovation and infrastructureClimate action

Why Climate Strategy, Energy & Emissions Matters

Explanation of the material topic and its Boundary

Explain management approach components

Explain management approach components

GRI 302: 103-1, 103-2, 103-3; 305: 103-1, 103-2, 103-3,

Greif integrates our climate strategy into every facet of our operations to ensure we are doing everything we can to reduce emissions and combat climate change. We create our products as efficiently as possible, implement energy and emissions projects throughout our operations and engage with partners across our value chain to further extend our impact beyond our walls. In addition to being part of our responsibility as a global manufacturer, our climate efforts give us a competitive advantage.


Greif’s 2019 CDP Score

Demonstrating excellence in carbon management, governance, strategy and best practices, and outperforming the overall and North American average CDP score of C.


We integrate energy efficiency throughout the organization. Greif includes energy and emission reduction targets in incentive structures, ensuring emissions reduction strategies align to compensation programs. Energy efficiency is a factor in capital expenditure decisions. All Greif colleagues are eligible for awards and recognition related to energy reduction. Since 2010 Greif has maintained a Global Energy Team, currently consisting of 25 members, that is responsible for coordinating energy and emissions reduction projects throughout the company. In 2019, we restructured the team to place an increased emphasis on including regional leadership to better engage and identify energy opportunities within each business unit and include legacy Caraustar facilities. This change in structure has allowed us to streamline our energy roadmap process to focus on and invest in the business units and facilities that have the most impactful energy opportunities. Whereas previously each facility was responsible for developing their own roadmap, regional leadership is now responsible for collaborating with each business unit to identify energy reduction and efficiency opportunities. Five of our production facilities have achieved ISO 50001 certification for energy management.

In 2019 we implemented 84 energy efficiency projects, resulting in $2,715,453 of savings across our organization. These projects commonly include replacing equipment and updating processes that reduce energy demand, such as replacing ovens, boilers and adjusting water temperatures and implementing energy efficiency practices, such as lighting and HVAC replacements and upgrades. For more information about our energy efficiency projects, please see section C4.2 and C4.3b of our CDP response.

A large focus in 2019 was fully integrating legacy Caraustar facilities into our energy and emissions reporting. Throughout the year, we met with representatives from each facility to educate them about our energy and emissions initiatives and learn more about their energy use. The ultimate goal of this engagement was establishing the right data collection processes to enable us to include these facilities in our reporting, which we are proud to say we are now able to do. This was a critically important accomplishment, as our legacy Caraustar facilities now account for 45 percent of our energy consumption and emissions impact globally, significantly changing the scale of our impact and adaptation and mitigation activities that are appropriate for our business.

We continued to implement our Energy Procurement Policy in support of procuring more renewable energy and monitored the progress of our renewable energy credit (REC) program in North America. We also continued to evaluate power purchase agreements and evaluate renewable energy programs that are available to us in North America, EMEA and Latin America.

We continue to engage our colleagues in our climate strategy. In 2019 we launched our Serious About Sustainability colleague engagement program in North America aimed at sharing more detailed energy information with our colleagues for the facilities where they work and identifying both projects and everyday opportunities to impact our energy use. Facilities that signed up to the program participated in a three-month competition to reduce energy usage. The three winning facilities received a certificate and catered lunch in recognition of their efforts. We are excited to continue offering and expanding this program in 2020.

In 2020, we will continue to complete energy efficiency projects, supported by our energy roadmaps, and report the savings resulting from those efforts. In collaboration with our colleagues in the Soterra Land Management business, we will explore additional carbon offset opportunities that may be available as a result of our land management operations. In Rigid Industrial Packaging & Services (RIPS) North America, we will evaluate new energy programs, such as energy as a service, to accelerate energy and emissions reduction activities.

Finally, 2020 is the last year of our current energy and greenhouse gas goal, but not the end of our commitment to reduce our environmental impact. In 2020, we will set and announce a new 2030 climate goal. As part of the process, we will take science-based target guidelines under consideration and evaluate our ability to commit to a goal that will be approved by the Science Based Target Initiative.

Goals & Progress

In 2016, Greif announced our current energy and emissions goal:

2020 Goal: 10 percent reduction in energy and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions per unit of production, from a fiscal 2014 baseline.

Progress: As of the end of fiscal 2019, we achieved an eleven percent emissions reduction per unit of production decrease from a fiscal 2014 baseline and were even compared to our reduction in energy per unit of production baseline.



FY 2014* 

FY 2015

Fy 2016

FY 2017

Fy 2018

FY 2019


Total Energy Consumption (MWh)







% Reduction in Energy per Unit of Production

(Baseline year)






% Reduction in Emissions per Unit of Production**

(Baseline year)






GHG Emissions (Metric Tons)

Scope 1





Scope 2 (Location-based)


Scope 3




  1. Source: Greif 2019 CDP Climate Response
  2. 2019 energy and emissions data accounts for all legacy Greif and Caraustar facilities.
  3. Emissions data accounts for CO2, CH4 and N2O.
  4. Scope 3 emissions takes into account upstream transportation and distribution. In 2017, scope 3 was expanded to include purchased goods and services, capital goods, fuel and energy related activities not included in Scope 1 and 2, including waste generated in operations, business travel, employee commuting and end of life treatment of sold products. Data based on legacy Greif Facilities only.
  5. 2019 GHG Verification Statement
*To standardize emissions and inform year-over-year progress toward our 2025 goal, our 2014 emissions data has been restated to correct several facilities’ eGRID regions. Total does not include 246,000 metric tons of CO2e from biogenic sources.
**Our percent reduction in emissions per unit of production dropped from FY 2015 to FY 2016 due to increased fugitive emissions from our Riverville, Virginia, paper mill and total emissions from our Massillon, Ohio, paper mill. Updated emissions and global warming potential factors also contributed to this change. Data based on legacy Greif facilities only to maintain comperability with 2014 baseline.
Highlight Stories
Highlight Stories

Replacement of Boiler with 10% Energy Efficiency Improvement

Greif’s paperboard mill in Fitchburg, Massachusetts was operating a boiler that was initially installed to support two paper machines. The boiler was oversized for the mills operating needs and as a result was not operating as efficiently as possible and causing reliability problems. In 2019, a new boiler was purchased to allow for improved steam efficiency and reliability. Due to these improvements, the new boiler is expected to generate 15,811,200 kWh and $324,000 savings annually.