2018 Sustainability Report

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

Risk Management & Business Continuity

Maintaining our commitments through difficult situations.

United Nations Sustainable Development GoalsReduced inequalitiesClimate action

Why Risk Management & Business Continuity Matters

Precautionary Principle or approach

Explanation of the material topic and its Boundary

Explain management approach components

Evaluate management approach

102-11; Risk Management & Business Continuity: 103-1, 103-2, 103-3

Greif mitigates risks that may negatively impact our customers through risk management and our business continuity efforts. By focusing on effectively managing our risks, we ensure quality in our products, safety of our colleagues and are able to maintain commitments to our customers.


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Greif assesses organization-wide risk through our formal Enterprise Risk Management (ERM) process, which considers all Greif Business Units and geographies. Risk information is identified and analyzed through Greif’s Risk and Content Monitoring processes by assurance providers across the organization, including Executive Leadership, Internal Audit, Legal/Compliance, feedback from regular customer and investor engagement and Greif’s Sustainability Steering Committee (SSC). Information from these groups, including long-term emerging risks, is provided to Greif’s Risk Leader Committee (RLC), led by Greif’s chief audit executive, and is comprised of members of Greif’s Executive, Business Unit and Strategic Business Unit Leadership teams. The RLC identifies, ranks, reviews and prioritizes risks in conjunction with Greif’s Audit Committee to determine the most critical risks based on potential impact and likelihood to occur. Each risk is evaluated for potential opportunities and reported to the Board annually for approval. Once approved, risks are evaluated by the RLC to develop plans for risk mitigation and opportunity capture. This team meets quarterly.

In 2018, we added our director of sustainability to the RLC to better assess, and incorporate, sustainability risks and opportunities to the business. In 2019, we will continue to refine our approach to risk management by better defining our risk appetite and improving our ability to financially quantify risk. We will start using independent data and working with our risk owners to better understand the inputs to each risk factor. Our new approach will help us develop KPIs to better manage risk.  

Business Continuity

Our We Got Chu program, established in 2017, manages risk and business continuity through inventory and production redundancy capabilities, facility risk assessments and proactive labor relations. Colleagues from sales, customer service, operations, marketing and logistics administer the program in tandem with business unit leadership.

Greif’s global network of more than 200* locations allows us to manufacture identical products at multiple sites, giving us the flexibility to shift production based on inventory, customer needs or in the unlikely event a shutdown would occur. This capability is enabled by centralized inventory management and our robust Sales and Operations Planning process (S&OP), which allows for visibility into raw and finished good materials across our facilities. Each facility multi-sources raw materials, ensuring production will not be interrupted due to delays or shortages from a supplier.

Greif’s facilities undergo loss control engineering inspections by our property insurance company periodically. These inspections are conducted by engineers and focus on identifying risks to the facility, including those that may be caused by natural disasters, and ways to reduce and control those risks. We make capital investments in our facilities to mitigate the risks identified in these inspections. For example, Greif is currently upgrading the roof in one of our Houston, Texas facilities to better protect against wind and water damage that was caused by hurricanes.

We also consider the risk of labor disputes to business continuity. We manage collective bargaining agreements on a two-to-three-year timeline, not simply when a negotiation must occur. Our senior leadership actively builds relationships with union leadership and members in each plant. This proactive approach ensures positive labor relations and business continuity.

Greif has not experienced a work stoppage since 2014, when we experienced a labor strike and illegal occupation at an FPS facility in Turkey. In response to the stoppage, Greif conducted in-depth focus groups with management and line colleagues to gain a deeper understanding of the issues that led to the strike and occupation. We implemented new compensation and benefit plans, safety processes, hiring practices and training to address the concerns raised by our colleagues and created a compliance manager position at the facility to help build and strengthen local relationships. From May 2014 to June 2015, Greif directly hired and unionized 1,300 workers. The workforce became the largest non-government direct hiring in Turkey–where most workers are hired as sub-contractors–and signaled a new approach to hiring in the country. During this period, we shifted production to other sites, ensuring we kept our customer commitments.

We continue to build on our reputation as a model employer in Turkey. Turnover in the facility has reduced from 36 percent in 2014 to 14.8 percent in 2018. We recently implemented our Gallup Q12 Employee Engagement Survey to create a formal forum for employee feedback, including those in Turkey. To learn more, please visit Talent Attraction, Development & Retention.

*This is from FY2018 and does not include sites as a result of the Caraustar acquisition. After the acquisition, we now have 308 facilities in 43 countries.
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Maintaining Our Commitments Through Harvey and Irma

In 2017, Greif’s North American operations were hit by hurricanes Harvey and Irma, resulting in $5.3 million of impact to our business. Despite the impact, our risk management and business continuity practices allowed us to meet our customer commitments during recovery without declaring force majeure. Greif supported our directly impacted colleagues by continuing to pay wages during the week production was down, paying for hotels and rental cars and setting up a Wish List for employees in North America to purchase items for their peers. Greif also matched colleague cash donations to the Red Cross to support relief efforts, donating a match of $11,745.