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Sustainability isn't just a word. It's the fiber of our company.

Sustainability is about meeting today’s needs without compromising the ability of future generations to do the same.

As a key part of our long-term business strategy, our sustainability platform is built on three pillars: People, Planet and Performance. By investing in our workforce and our communities, acting responsibly with regard to the environment, and delivering strong financial results and innovative packaging solutions for our customers, we continue to make our business more sustainable.

PeopleSust

People

Our best investments are in human capital.

Our co-workers are the reason for our success. We seek the best talent and foster a diverse, inclusive and safe workplace where new ideas and innovative thinking are encouraged and rewarded. We operate our business according to the highest ethical standards and treat all of our stakeholders—co-workers, customers, communities, suppliers and investors—with honesty, integrity and respect.

Focus on Safety:

Safety first, safety always.

We're committed to ensuring that our co-workers return home to their families and friends safely every day. With 39,000 employees around the world, plus thousands of contractors and visitors at our facilities every year, we recognize that achieving a safe work environment requires a relentless focus on safety. We fully support and promote the belief that no task is so important that we cannot take the time to do it safely.

Achieving injury-free status requires a lot of hard work, and we are making steady progress toward this ambitious goal, with innovative, ongoing training and engagement programs. Since our company’s formation in 2015, we have reduced the frequency of our safety incidents by approximately 16 percent.

Safety coin

Safety Coins, pass them on.

Read more about our innovative safety approach.

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Planet

When it comes to the environment, we're resourceful.

We’re dedicated to the responsible stewardship of natural resources, conscientious management of our global manufacturing facilities, and full compliance with all laws and regulations.

Environmental excellence starts with a strong commitment to compliance at all levels of management, and active teams and systems to manage environmental requirements. Our sustainability goals for water use, carbon emissions, recycling and energy efficiency are helping drive continuous improvement in our businesses around the world.

Focus on Product Stewardship:

Packed with confidence.

Our packaging solutions enhance the freshness, convenience and appearance of your products. But one of the most important attributes of packaging is its ability to build brand confidence by ensuring your product reaches its destination undamaged and safe for consumer use.

We work closely with our suppliers and customers to identify substances of concern and minimize packaging safety risks. Our product stewardship program requires that our manufacturing facilities use good manufacturing practices that are tailored to their specific product lines. We conduct inspections of incoming raw materials to minimize the potential for contaminants to end up in products. We also perform comprehensive, routine chemical and microbiological testing to verify our packaging meets all regulatory and customer requirements.

As product stewards, we recognize that the safety of our products helps build consumer confidence in your products.

A white and blue PerfPak advantage adherence solution.

More than just a pretty package. Discover how PerfPak® Advantage keeps medicine safe and secure.

PerformanceSust.

Performance

Sustainability is good business.

The best business practices are sustainable ones. Working safely, attracting high-potential talent, improving our environmental footprint, and giving back to our communities aren't just the right things to do—they are also good for our company’s bottom line.

We believe sustainability helps drive innovation and spurs fresh thinking that can lead to profitable growth. Sustainability is one of our motivations for practicing lean manufacturing to reduce waste. It also inspires us to adapt our renewable and recyclable paperboard and other packaging substrates to create products that are eco-friendly and profitable market leaders too.

By looking at sustainability opportunities and applying our unique insights on emerging packaging trends, we are able to deliver unparalleled sustainable packaging solutions to customers around the world.

View our 2015 Annual Report. Visit WestRock's Investors page.

Focus on Innovation:

Designed to make a difference.

Our insights-based approach to design enables us to solve complex packaging problems while improving the sustainability profile of our products. Our design process focuses on material selection and the creation of packaging that delivers the best functionality while minimizing waste. We also employ state-of-the-art printing and finishing technologies with sustainable inks, coatings and graphic enhancements that deliver in-store impact.

We work collaboratively with our customers and other stakeholders throughout our packaging supply chain on ways to rethink our products by applying market insights, technology and sustainable design principles.

Enshield Kit

The go-to packaging for to-go food. Read about EnShield.™

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Sustainable Fiber

Renew. Recover. Recycle.

Paper is the original “green” packaging. Our paper-based packaging helps our customers move from the linear model of “take, make, waste” to a more circular model focused on recycling and reuse.

Our products made with virgin fiber—a renewable resource—begin with wood sourced from responsibly managed forests. We work closely with landowners to ensure the wood we buy is grown and harvested in a sustainable manner. We also actively promote efforts to increase the amount of land certified to recognized forest management standards. In fact, we have created one of the largest chain-of-custody certified fiber procurement organizations in the industry, and we continue to grow it.

Our commitment to sustainable forestry is only the beginning. With one of the industry’s largest recycling networks, we reuse fiber-based packaging collected by our recycling business to manufacture a variety of new paperboard and 100-percent recycled products with fiber mixes tailored to our customers’ specific needs.

We believe the most sustainable approach to fiber sourcing is a balanced one.

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Fiber Sourcing

Sustainability is in our roots.

Our love of forests and our commitment to responsibly sourcing the wood fiber we use is embodied in what we do every day. Our team of forestry professionals has a long history of educating landowners and communities on the best practices for managing forest lands, and the research programs we support help ensure the health and productivity of our forests for years to come.

We’ve created one of the industry’s largest independently audited systems for tracking and ensuring that the wood harvested for use in our manufacturing operations is done in compliance with laws, with respect for traditional and human rights, and in a manner that protects forest ecosystems and regions of high conservation value.

WestRock’s fiber certification systems provide our company and yours with assurance that the paper and packaging products we make contain fiber from well-managed forests.

Recycling

Focus on Fiber:

Recycling, remarkable.

We’ve been making products from recycled materials for more than 100 years. Our recycling business is one of the largest in North America—we recycled more than 8 million tons of paper in 2015 alone. Our recycling business also handles a broad array of other materials, including plastic, metal and glass.

In addition to traditional recycling services, our team of waste management experts provides a full range of consulting services to customers across the United States. We work with companies ranging from large national chains to small retailers to find innovative ways to divert waste from landfills—efforts that have saved our customers hundreds of thousands of dollars in waste disposal costs and helped them become more environmentally sustainable.

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Eureka, we're recycling! Learn more about our partnership with Eureka Recycling.

Our Goals

Measuring up.

We don’t just claim to be sustainable—we live it. That’s why we created a set of sustainability goals that reflect the business priorities and values of our company. These goals provide us with a roadmap for the future. Everyone—from the plant floors to our corporate offices—is charged with delivering on these goals. We will achieve our sustainability targets by collaborating with co-workers, customers, suppliers and others.

Accountability is a core value at WestRock, and we are committed to providing our stakeholders with regular and transparent reporting on our progress against each of our goals.

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Safety

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Safety

Our goal is to reduce our OSHA incident rate by 25% from a 2015 baseline by 2025 with the ultimate goal of becoming an injury-free workplace.

Keeping our 39,000 co-workers safe is our highest responsibility. “Safety First, Safety Always!” That’s how we aspire to operate our business around the world every day.

Current Status: OSHA incident rate 1.47; 1.3% reduction compared to FY15 baseline.

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Financial Health

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Financial Health

Our goal is to maintain an investment grade credit rating.

We can’t be sustainable if we aren’t financially healthy. Focusing on people, planet and performance isn’t just the responsible thing to do, it will make WestRock an even more profitable business in the future.

Current Status: S&P rating: BBB; Moody's rating: Baa2

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Ethics

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Ethics

Our goal is to conduct annual ethics and compliance training for our salaried employees globally.

Integrity is one of our core values. We strive to operate our business in compliance with all laws and according to the highest standards of ethical conduct.

Current Status: 11,000 employees have completed Code of Conduct training YTD

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Customers

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Customers

Our goal is to provide exceptional customer service and measure our performance through periodic customer satisfaction surveys.

We aspire to be the premier partner and unrivaled provider of winning packaging solutions. We are dedicated to providing our customers with innovative, sustainable products supported with exceptional customer service.

Current Status: YTD we have reached out to 4497 external customer contacts and 206 internal contacts in 49 countries with a 38% response rate.

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Diversity & Inclusion

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Diversity & Inclusion

Our goal is to foster a diverse and inclusive workplace by promoting participation in our employee resource groups.

Our co-workers are our greatest assets. We are committed to fostering a strong culture of inclusion, where every employee is valued for his or her unique contributions and perspective.

Current Status: Finalized WestRock's Diversity and Inclusion Vision statement and definition. Established new Employee Resource Groups and named Executive Sponsors.

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Employee Engagement

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Employee Engagement

Our goal is to increase employee engagement levels and measure our performance through periodic surveys of our co-workers.

Having employees who give their best every day is what makes WestRock a safe, productive and profitable business. We are working to create an environment where all of our co-workers are engaged in their jobs and our organization.

Current Status: Completed employee engagement pulse survey (84% participation) for a subset of the organization. A corporate-wide survey will be administered in Spring 2017.

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Communities

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Communities

Our goal is give back to the communities where we live and work through charitable contributions and volunteer activities.

We are deeply connected to the places where we live and work. We support local communities through charitable giving and encourage co-workers to volunteer their time and talents in ways that benefit their communities.

Current Status: Established the WestRock Foundation which focuses on providing support in the areas of sustainable communities, education, and environmental stewardship. Launched two employee programs that provide grants to organizations where employees volunteer their time, and supports employee teams as they participate in group events benefiting charitable causes.

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Innovation

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Innovation

Our goal is to apply sustainable design principles to all of our product design work.

We believe sustainability drives innovation. Designing products that use renewable fiber, optimize the use of materials, and are recyclable at the end of their useful life benefits the environment and is good for business—our customers’ and ours.

Current Status: Established an Innovation Council. Active projects in lightweighting substrates to perform while using less fiber, and replacing polyethylene plastic coating in several end markets

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Supplier Conduct

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Supplier Conduct

Our goal is to ensure our suppliers comply with the WestRock Supplier Code of Conduct.

We are committed to ethical business practices, and we expect the same of our suppliers. We have created a supplier code of conduct to ensure our vendors comply with all applicable laws, act in a socially responsible manner, respect the environment, and provide us with safe products and services.

Current Status: Developed a supplier code of conduct

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Supplier Diversity

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Supplier Diversity

Our goal is create a more diverse and robust supply chain by increasing our managed spend with minority-owned businesses and suppliers.

We are working to create a more diverse supply chain. We believe that increasing supplier diversity will create more routes for us to procure the goods and services that our operations rely on, in addition to providing fresh perspectives on our business.

Current Status: Hired dedicated resource to manage supplier diversity program. Developing metrics to accurately reflect our spend across global business sectors.

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Certified Office Products

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Certified Office Products

Our goal is to increase our purchases of certified office products.

We understand the value of forestry certifications. By increasing our internal purchases and use of certified office products we are demonstrating our belief that certification schemes play a big role in keeping our forests healthy and productive.

Current Status: Identified strategic supplier and implemented a program to track certified office products purchased.

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Chain of Custody

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Chain of Custody

Our goal is to certify all of our wholly owned manufacturing facilities across the globe to internationally recognized chain-of-custody certification standards by 2018.

Chain-of-custody certification is a process that allows us to track the wood fiber that we purchase from the forest through our manufacturing facilities to our customers. This level of traceability through our supply chain provides greater transparency into the responsible sourcing of our wood fiber.

Current Status: 99% of manufacturing facilities certified.

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Certified Fiber

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Certified Fiber

Our goal is to increase our purchases of virgin fiber from lands certified to credible forest management standards by 25% by 2025.

We support forest certification, a voluntary, third-party verified process by which forest landowners adhere to a prescribed set of sustainable forest management practices. Procuring wood fiber from these lands demonstrates our commitment to sustainable use of forest resources.

Current Status: 1% decrease in certified fiber purchased.

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Certified Land

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Certified Land

Our goal is to promote increases in the amount of land that is certified to internationally recognized forest management standards through our landowner outreach activities.

We understand the land management needs of small, private forest owners and can provide them with resources to help them certify their properties to recognized international standards. Increasing the amount of certified land will create a more abundant supply of sustainable, virgin fiber for our operations.

Current Status: Over 70,000 acres certified.

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Greenhouse Gases

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Greenhouse Gases

Our goal is to reduce our CO2e emissions by 20% per ton of production from a 2015 baseline by 2025.

WestRock is committed to acting as a responsible steward of the environment, and we are always looking for opportunities to improve the environmental footprint of our manufacturing operations. Our environmental commitment includes efforts to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases from the combustion of fossil fuels.

Current Status: 0.66 metric tonnes of CO2e per ton of production; 1.8% reduction.

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Waste Recycling

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Waste Recycling

Our goal is to establish waste minimization teams at our largest facilities by the end of 2018 and use the ideas generated by these teams to establish site-specific numeric targets for solid waste reduction and/or increased waste recycling by 2020.

We have a legacy of recycling that dates back 100 years, and today we are one of North America’s largest recycling companies. We want to increase recycling in our business by forming active waste minimization teams at all of our containerboard and paperboard manufacturing facilities.

Current Status: Waste reduction & recycling teams have been established at 81% of our manufacturing locations.

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Water Use

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Water Use

Our goal is to map the water use in our most water-intensive manufacturing operations by 2018 and develop water reduction plans for strategic watersheds by 2020.

Our largest facilities have manufacturing processes that use water for a variety of process purposes, and having a clean and abundant supply of water is critical to our operations. In order to protect local and regional water supplies, we intend to develop site-specific strategies for improving water conservation and increasing water recycling at our containerboard and paperboard mills.

Current Status: Completed screening assessment at all mills using WRI Aqueduct Water Risk Atlas.

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Energy Efficiency

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Energy Efficiency

Our goal is to increase energy efficiency of purchased fuels by 10% per ton of production from a 2015 baseline by 2025.

Our most energy intensive operations generate most of their own steam and electricity by using highly efficient combined heat and power systems fueled with renewable biomass.  However, we are always searching for ways to increase our energy efficiency in order to benefit both the environment and our bottom line.

Current Status: 7.55 MMBTU per ton of production; 4.2% increase.

Download a summary of our goals.