2018 Sustainability Report

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

Executive Letter

Statement from senior decision-maker

Governance structure


Peter G. Watson

Ole G. Rosgaard

The Greif Way defines the key principles that guide our business. Our commitment to ethics, diversity, sustainability and continuous improvement enables us to use financial, natural and human resources wisely without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs. In 2018, Greif made tremendous progress on our sustainability goals and objectives, creating positive outcomes for our customers, shareholders, suppliers, colleagues and the environment.

Greif’s values drive our vision of, in industrial packaging, be the best performing customer service company in the world. Our strategic priorities, which enable us to achieve our vision while fully supporting our sustainability efforts, remain steadfast:

  1. Invest in our people and teams to foster a strong culture of employee engagement and accountability.
  2. Deliver industry leading customer service excellence to achieve superior customer satisfaction and loyalty.
  3. Strive for and realize performance excellence and value creation.

We made significant progress toward our sustainability agenda this past year:

  • Greif experienced another strong year in safety. We continue to advance our culture of safety and have placed increased focus on our Life Changing Injury and Fatality Elimination (LIFE) program. While over half of our facilities experienced zero accidents in 2018, we will continue working to achieve zero accidents across all of Greif, allowing all of our colleagues to go home both safe and healthy.
  • We experienced the greatest level of customer service excellence in our history. Our Customer Satisfaction Index and Net Promoter Scores increased to their highest levels ever. We continue to focus on these metrics as clear signals of customer loyalty and profitable growth.
  • We enhanced our ability to share and implement innovation within the organization, which will help us better advance the circular economy. Our innovation initiatives – including more products made with post-consumer resin (PCR) and advancements in the Greif Green Tool – reduce our environmental footprint and provide stronger, more sustainable products for our customers.
  • Our 2018 financial results included increasing operating profit year-over-year by 23.7 percent. We generated over $177.8 million in Free Cash Flow, which allowed us the financial flexibility to return $100 million to shareholders in the form of dividends paid.

Our sustainability initiatives continue to receive recognition from our stakeholders. EcoVadis awarded Greif the ‘Gold Recognition Level’ in sustainability performance, placing us in the top five percent of companies they evaluate. Additionally, we received an A- rating from CDP for our 2018 Climate Change response, illustrating our robust energy and emissions management practices. Our continuous improvement and external recognition attests to the shared value we are creating for our stakeholders through The Greif Way.

Greif continues to embed sustainability within the organization by engaging our colleagues as part of our strategic priorities. This past year, we introduced a company-wide employee engagement survey using the Gallup Q12 survey framework. To engage as many colleagues as possible, we conducted the survey in numerous languages and achieved an overwhelming response rate. As a result of the survey, we have built training and placed increased emphasis on providing all colleagues with more opportunities for feedback and recognition.

In 2018, we awarded the Michael J. Gasser Sustainability Award to a team from Greif’s Rigid Industrial Packaging and Services (RIPS) business in our Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) region for their successful efforts in reducing total fuel costs and overall CO2 emissions by standardizing the types of cars available for use in the region around low emission vehicles.

We are proud to share our 2018 sustainability report, marking our tenth year of reporting on our sustainability progress. Our report, prepared in full accordance with the GRI Standards Core guidelines, serves as our annual Communication on Progress to the United Nations Global Compact.

Our commitment to The Greif Way, operating with a culture of integrity, would not be possible without our incredible Greif colleagues around the world. Their dedication, hard work and support help us be a conscientious global citizen. Looking forward, we are committed to building value for all Greif stakeholders. We have important work to do, and we look forward to continuing our progress and sharing our results in future reports.

Best Regards,

Peter G. Watson
President and Chief Executive Officer

Ole G. Rosgaard
Senior Vice President and Group President,
Rigid Industrial Packaging & Services
and Sustainability


Medical Case Rate

Down 72 percent since 2007.


Recognition from EcoVadis

Received for our commitment to Corporate Social Responsibility, placing us in the top four percent of all assessed suppliers.


Average Customer Satisfaction Index Score

Our highest scores ever, demonstrating our commitment to serving our customers better.