2020 Sustainability Report
Committed to using financial, natural and human resources wisely without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs
In 2010, we introduced the Michael J. Gasser Global Sustainability Award to encourage all Greif colleagues to consider the sustainability of their decisions at work. The award recognizes the environmentally-focused activities of Greif colleaguesand superior effort in creating sustainable value across our supply chain. For 2020, the Michael J. Gasser Sustainability Award was expanded to recognize efforts in both environmental and social focus areas of sustainability.
Argentina Rigid Industrial Packaging & Services (RIPS): The colleagues at the Tigre plant applied an innovative and sustainable mindset to develop a more environmentally friendly light-weight geometric design plastic drum. The project solved a customer need; can potentially be scaled elsewhere in our portfolio; will generate cost savings from reduced raw material usage; and reduces CO2 emissions and energy use.
Dalton Paper Packaging & Services (PPS) Recycling Group: The colleagues at the Dalton facility initiated a project with existing customers to educate them on the benefits of reducing waste to landfill and evolving recycling economics. The project involved creating a closed loop with two PPS customers to collect and recycle their waste and turn this waste into new products within the PPS network to sell back to the same customers. The project developed stronger customer partnerships; improved financial results; enhanced PPS’ continuity of fiber supply; and will divert more than 40,000 tons of customer waste from landfills.
PPS Mill Group & Recycling: The colleagues at our Mobile recycling facility and mill demonstrated outstanding servant leadership and community outreach. When a powerful storm severely impacted the community surrounding one of their customers, these colleagues responded quickly to assist. The team gathered much needed essential supplies and donated them to local relief agencies for distribution. Their unselfish and voluntary action demonstrates true commitment to The Greif Way.
In 2018, we awarded the Michael J. Gasser Sustainability Award to a regional team consisting of HR and GSSC representatives 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. RIPS EMEA modified the company car policy to standardize the types of cars available for use in the region. The updated policy applies to all colleagues in EMEA who renewed their company car. In total, the policy impacted 296 users during the project. The program achieved:
The RIPS EMEA project truly demonstrates the wide array of possibilities that exist across the business, beyond the operational arena. This year’s project helps Greif work towards its sustainability goals.
The Greif Rigid Industrial Packaging and Services (RIPS) division's Castenedolo plant colleagues in Italy won the 2016 Michael J. Gasser Sustainability Award by fully embracing sustainable innovation principles to manufacture products that utilize methods, such as the use of recycled materials and dematerialization, that have a reduced negative impact on the environment while maintaining Greif’s commitment to only produce products of the highest quality.
The Castenedolo plant colleagues worked on two separate sustainable innovation projects. The first project involved the reduction of the weight of our GCube bottles from 14kg to 13kg while maintaining product integrity. This resulted in a seven percent reduction in natural resources consumed to manufacture the product in addition to a reduction of 312 tons of carbon emissions and 432 MWh of electricity consumption per year.
The second project was the development of new manufacturing techniques over a six-month period to increase the percentage of Post-Consumer Resin (PCR) content in the production of plastic drums that can now be made with 75 percent PCR. PCR is produced from recollected plastics packaging products through a process of crashing, flaking, washing, melting and granulation. Through this development, the Castenedolo team replaced 500 tons of virgin raw materials with recycled plastic and reduced their carbon emissions by 750 tons per year.
Greif’s global packaging accessories business unit, Tri-Sure, won the 2015 Michael Gasser Sustainability Award. Tri-Sure has been investing in many aspects of sustainability including resource consumption reduction, colleagues health and safety, waste reduction and innovation for the last five years.
Tri-Sure led all the Greif business units by reducing their energy consumption by 37 percent, saving over four million dollars over the past five years and far exceeding the global corporate target of a 15 percent reduction in energy consumption.
Tri-Sure also invested in innovation to create a safer work environment, ahead of government regulations, by developing a passivation method called Chromium-3 Passivation that eliminated the risk of colleagues exposure to toxic materials while also decreasing toxicity of wastewater. This innovation made Tri-Sure the first in the market with such a product.
Moreover, Tri-Sure invested in sustainable product development to create a new venting screw cap system, Plasticap 60™ MPV3 Screwcap, that not only meets customer requirements but also requires fewer raw materials to make and reduces production waste. With this innovation, Tri-Sure grew the business of the screw caps market by 220 percent. By collaborating with their customers and integrating sustainability criteria to their innovation process, Tri-Sure grew their business, profitability and market reach.
The total economic benefit achieved from all 2015 nominations, including cost savings and increases in revenue, was approximately $21 million. The total energy saved was close to two million kilowatt-hours, equivalent to carbon sequestered from 1,038 acres of U.S. forests in one year. Carbon emissions reduction equaled 20,501 tons, equivalent to 4,316 passenger vehicles driven for one year and the total reduction in waste equaled 6,067 tons.
Ivan Signorelli, Group President for Greif Rigid Industrial Packaging and Services (RIPS) in EMEA and APAC, and the Green Tool team received the 2014 Michael J. Gasser Sustainability Award for their visionary work with life cycle assessments (LCA) and the practical application of this science at Greif with The Greif Green Tool.
Under the leadership of Ivan Signorelli, a team of Greif colleagues and Prof. Dr. Holger Buxel from the University of Applied Sciences Münster, worked with independent life cycle assessment specialists from the IFEU institute, located in Germany, to conduct life cycle assessments on Greif’s industrial packaging products with the aim of discovering sustainability-related opportunities and threats in the market.
This information was used to develop the proprietary “Greif Green Tool”, which helps companies of all sizes to reduce their carbon footprint by understanding the environmental impact of different containers and shipping solutions.
The Greif Green Tool is a flexible calculator that uses independent life cycle data of Greif products. It allows Greif’s customers to see their carbon footprint data, review and compare the effects of different packaging application decisions and see possible reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. This enables them to choose the right packaging products that will keep their products safe while helping them meet their sustainability goals.
The team members were also recognized for their commercial leadership in utilizing this powerful tool with Greif’s customers. More than 50 Greif customers have requested Green Tool demonstrations and analysis since the tool’s development.
The Green Tool has been recognized by the Harvard Business Review in the article Making the Consensus Sale. The article highlights Greif's Green Tool as a method for building consensus across an organization while showing the sustainability benefits of Greif products. The Greif Green Tool was also featured in other publications such as the MITSloan Management Review and case studies published by the WBCSD and The Corporate Executive Board Company.
The PPS Riverville Mill team won the 2013 Michael J. Gasser Global Sustainability Award for their energy reduction project that began approximately five years ago. The team succeeded in reducing Riverville Mill’s energy consumption by more than 7 percent while increasing throughput by almost 5 percent compared to FY 2008. They accomplished this through continuous improvement projects to modify operating strategies through process optimization and colleagues education and engagement; through a series of capital investments to utilize technology to improve controls; and through the involvement of all colleagues.
In addition to reducing the plant’s specific energy consumption and cost, the team’s work has also directly resulted in a reduction in carbon emissions through their efforts to reducing reliance on fossil fuel. The team has applied technologies including Variable Frequency Drives (VFDs) in 40 applications since 2009 and seven in 2013 that were identified by internal auditing to be candidates for significant energy reduction.
The team’s work has reduced site energy consumption by 300 million KWh/year since 2009.
Greif subsidiary CorrChoice won the 2012 Michael J. Gasser Global Sustainability Award for developing the game-changing product LeaderCorr™. LeaderCorr replaces foam board used by the retail industry and others for printed signs and in-store displays.
LeaderCorr is a double-walled corrugated sheet that, unlike foam board, is completely recyclable. This means it can be put into the OCC (old corrugated containers, i.e., used cardboard) waste stream, which is an income source for the retailer.
The production of LeaderCorr is also environmentally responsible and, because it is an income source, sustainable. In its manufacture, the product uses less energy, less water and less starch than traditional paper-based corrugated materials. Because of the technology that uses less water, the LeaderCorr sheets are flatter than other corrugated sheets, and when overlaid with a high quality white liner, provide an ideal surface for high-impact printing. Its thickness can also be tailored for specific applications.
In 2012, the total energy saved from all nominations of the Michael J. Gasser Sustainability Award equaled to 66 million KWH and a carbon emissions reduction of 12,000 metric tons, which is equivalent to greenhouse gas emissions from 9,595 passenger vehicles or the electricity use of 6,967 homes for one year.
For their work in developing more sustainable engine lubricants and automotive fluids for the future, Greif subsidiary Delta Companies Group won Greif's 2011 Michael J. Gasser Global Sustainability Award.
The team collaborated to create high performing yet sustainable oil, lube and automotive fluid products for consumers. By using alternative renewable resources, packaging and recycled materials, and then conducting a life cycle assessment on the products, Delta was able to:
The total economic benefit achieved from all nominations in 2011, including cost savings and increases in revenue, was over $14 million dollars.
The first recipient of the Michael J. Gasser Global Sustainability Award was Greif's entire Latin America strategic business unit. The organization tackled the reduction of their energy use, embracing energy excellence to the extent of taking their commitment home with them. They developed training and delivered it to all workers, and in the process effected a cultural change and generated a passion for conservation.
Consistent with their commitment, this award is not the capstone of their efforts. They have continued to reduce their energy consumption, began to work on reducing their water consumption and institutionalized Greif's zero waste initiative.
The total economic benefit achieved from all nominations in 2010, including cost savings and increases in revenue, was over $17 million. We also documented an environmental impact of:
Demonstrating excellence in carbon management, governance, strategy and best practices, and outperforming the overall and North American average CDP score of D.
Received for our commitment to Corporate Social Responsibility, placing us in the top three percent of all assessed suppliers.
Our audited facilities are contributing to developing industry-wide sustainability standards for suppliers to chemical manufacturers.