The case for CSR/ Sustainability Reporting Done Responsibly


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Home / case studies / Case study: How Smurfit Kappa supports the communities where it operates

Case study: How Smurfit Kappa supports the communities where it operates

Smurfit Kappa is one of the largest integrated manufacturers of paper-based packaging solutions in the world, operating across 35 countries with around 46,000 employees in over 350 production sites. Smurfit Kappa is committed to the communities in which it operates  Tweet This!, while its Foundation empowers people to improve their lives.

This case study is based on the 2019 Sustainable Development Report by Smurfit Kappa published on the Global Reporting Initiative Sustainability Disclosure Database that can be found at this link. Through all case studies we aim to demonstrate what CSR/ ESG/ sustainability reporting done responsibly means. Essentially, it means: a) identifying a company’s most important impacts on the environment, economy and society, and b) measuring, managing and changing.

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Smurfit Kappa actively supports local communities, through its Smurfit Kappa Foundation and local operations. In order to support the communities where it operates Smurfit Kappa took action to:

  • promote community involvement
  • launch the Smurfit Kappa Foundation

What are the material issues the company has identified?            

In its 2019 Sustainable Development Report Smurfit Kappa identified a range of material issues, such as climate change awareness, energy use and emissions, responsible forestry, high-quality and sustainable products. Among these, supporting the communities where it operates stands out as a key material issue for Smurfit Kappa.

Stakeholder engagement in accordance with the GRI Standards              

The Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) defines the Principle of Stakeholder Inclusiveness when identifying material issues (or a company’s most important impacts) as follows:

“The reporting organization shall identify its stakeholders, and explain how it has responded to their reasonable expectations and interests.”

Stakeholders must be consulted in the process of identifying a company’s most important impacts and their reasonable expectations and interests must be taken into account. This is an important cornerstone for CSR / sustainability reporting done responsibly.

Key stakeholder groups Smurfit Kappa engages with: 

Stakeholder Group                Method of engagement
Customers ·      Regular business meetings at Smurfit Kappa’s Experience Centres

·      Customer conferences

·      WBCSD membership

·      Awards and competitions run by customers

Investors ·      Investor days and conferences

·      One-to-one meetings

·      ESG ratings by rating agencies

·      Feedback from sustainability analysts

·      Queries directly from investors

Employees ·      MyVoice engagement surveys

·      Day-to-day interactions

·      Works Councils

·      Social committees

Communities

 

·      Participation in local initiatives

·      Supporting social investment projects

Suppliers

 

·      Supplier sustainability audits

·      Participating in the development of Forest Certification as members of the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) and the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC)

·      WBCSD membership

How stakeholder engagement was made to identify material issues

To identify and prioritise material topics Smurfit Kappa conducted an online survey for internal stakeholders (employees) and interviews with key external stakeholders, such as customers, investors and suppliers.

What actions were taken by Smurfit Kappa to support the communities where it operates?

In its 2019 Sustainable Development Report Smurfit Kappa reports that it took the following actions for supporting the communities where it operates:

  • Promoting community involvement
  • Smurfit Kappa always considers the concerns of the wider community at national and international level. Community involvement builds trust and serves as a link to the issues important to Smurfit Kappa. Local general managers are expected to represent the Group as part of the local community and play a positive part in its development. In its philanthropic work, Smurfit Kappa focuses on self-help initiatives, education and health programmes, and contributes through financial donations and volunteering by local employees. The circular economy has an impact on communities as well, and Smurfit Kappa participates widely in local circular operations. Some examples of these are:
    • Delivering district heating from Smurfit Kappa’s paper mill to the residents of Piteå, Sweden
    • Supporting municipality water treatment systems with Smurfit Kappa’s effluent that has nutrients that help treat municipality waste water in Nettingsdorf, Austria and Nervión, Spain
    • Treating municipality waste water in Morava, Czech Republic
    • Maintaining rural road structures at Smurfit Kappa’s Colombian Forestry Operations
    • Collecting city-recovered paper in Malaga, Spain
  • Launching the Smurfit Kappa Foundation
  • The Smurfit Kappa Foundation was formed in 2011 and supports sustainable projects in the countries where Smurfit Kappa Smurfit Kappa focuses on projects involving disadvantaged children in the areas of health and nutrition, basic care and early education. Smurfit Kappa is particularly interested in projects in which Smurfit Kappa employees or their families are involved and where they would benefit from support from Smurfit Kappa’s Foundation. Any support Smurfit Kappa gives is in addition to and not a substitute for funding such projects might already receive from the local Smurfit Kappa operations. The Foundation’s goal is to end the cycle of poverty and dependence that exists in some of the communities and countries in which Smurfit Kappa operates, using the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development as a guide. The projects Smurfit Kappa supports tackle global issues with local relevance, and operate under the ethos: ’Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.’ Thus, Smurfit Kappa supports sustainable projects which involve input from the local community and are capable of becoming self-sufficient in the long-term.

Which GRI Standards and corresponding Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) have been addressed?

The GRI Standards addressed in this are:

1) Disclosure 413-1 Operations with local community engagement, impact assessments, and development programs

2) Disclosure 413-2 Operations with significant actual and potential negative impacts on local communities

 

Disclosure 413-1 Operations with local community engagement, impact assessments, and development programs does not correspond to any SDG.

Disclosure 413-2 Operations with significant actual and potential negative impacts on local communities corresponds to:

 

80% of the world’s 250 largest companies report in accordance with the GRI Standards

SustainCase was primarily created to demonstrate, through case studies, the importance of dealing with a company’s most important impacts in a structured way, with use of the GRI Standards. To show how today’s best-run companies are achieving economic, social and environmental success – and how you can too.

Research by well-recognised institutions is clearly proving that responsible companies can look to the future with optimism.



FBRH GRI Standards Certified, IEMA & CIM recognised Sustainability Course | Venue: London LSE

By registering for the next 2-day FBRH GRI Standards Certified, IEMA & CIM recognised course you will be taking the first step in gaining the many benefits of sustainability reporting.

Most importantly, you will gain the knowledge to use the GRI Standards, project manage your own first-class sustainability report and:

  • Identify your most important impacts on the Environment, Economy and Society
  • Begin taking solid, focused, all-round sustainability action ASAP

 

References:

1) This case study is based on published information by Smurfit Kappa, located at the link below. For the sake of readability, we did not use brackets or ellipses. However, we made sure that the extra or missing words did not change the report’s meaning. If you would like to quote these written sources from the original, please revert to the original on the Global Reporting Initiative’s Sustainability Disclosure Database at the link:

http://database.globalreporting.org/

2) https://www.globalreporting.org/standards/gri-standards-download-center/

Note to Smurfit Kappa: With each case study we send out an email requesting a comment on this case study. If you have not received such an email please contact us.