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—which defines our guiding principles—compels us to use financial, natural and human resources wisely without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs. In 2017, we took steps to further operationalize sustainability throughout our business to create sustainable value for our customers, the environment and Greif stakeholders.

Our sustainability agenda, commitments and advancements fully support our vision of, in industrial packaging, be the best performing customer service company in the world. We have three strategic priorities to achieve this vision, which also directly correlate to our sustainability efforts:

  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:

  • We achieved the best safety record in the history of Greif for the second consecutive year. While we are proud of this progress, our aspiration is to achieve a zero-risk environment which concludes with zero accidents, allowing all of our colleagues to go home both safe and healthy.
  • Our teams enhanced customer service levels across the global enterprise with marked improvement in our Customer Satisfaction Index scores and our Net Promotor Scores. Greif’s long-term success will be defined by how we earn our customers’ trust and loyalty to profitably grow our enterprise.
  • We conducted a materiality assessment to identify our highest-priority sustainability impacts, risks and opportunities. This process validated our ongoing sustainability agenda and revealed opportunities. We established and expanded global teams to set 2025 sustainability goals and strategies and to operationalize our aspirations.
  • We emerged from our three-year transformation plan at the end of our fiscal year. Our 2017 financial results included increasing operating profit year-over-year by 20.7 percent and generating in excess of $200 million in Free Cash Flow, which allowed us the financial flexibility to return more than $98 million to shareholders in the form of dividends.

Our efforts toward our sustainability goals and agenda recently were recognized by EcoVadis, which awarded Greif the ‘Gold Recognition Level’ in sustainability performance. This achievement places Greif among the top five percent of all companies evaluated by EcoVadis. While there is more work to do, we are proud of how far we have come, and our progress is a true testament to our commitment to creating shared value through The Greif Way.

Ultimately, our goal is to have sustainability embedded into everything we do at Greif. To that end, and in alignment with our three strategic priorities, we will continue to engage and collaborate with our key stakeholders to incorporate sustainable activities. These activities include gauging our company culture by leveraging the Gallup Q12 Employee Engagement Survey, collaborating with our customers and suppliers to continue advancing circular economy principles and introducing a disciplined growth strategy. We will also begin tracking progress and reporting against our 2025 sustainability goals.

We are pleased to report on our sustainability progress in this ninth annual sustainability report, which is in full accordance with the GRI Standards Core guidelines and serves as our annual Communication on Progress to the United Nations Global Compact.

Our vision, focus and progress are exciting for us and would not be possible without the dedication, hard work and support of our Greif colleagues around the world. Looking forward, our commitments are clear. 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,
Americas and Global Sustainability


Medical Case Rate

Our lowest in company history, down 73 percent since 2007.


Recognition from EcoVadis

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


Average Customer Satisfaction Index Score

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