Sustainability in a time of uncertainty

Tony Smurfit, CEO of Smurfit Kappa Group

Industry People

While so much has taken a back seat to the COVID-19 pandemic, the focus on sustainability remains firmly at the forefront of customer and consumer focus, new research by Bank of America has shown.

In a recent interview, CEO of Smurfit Kappa Group, Tony Smurfit, reflected on his company’s experience of continuing to operate as an essential service, while pushing forward its goals of innovation in waste reduction. ‘Sustainability remains essential and we should continue to focus on it,’ Smurfit noted. ‘While this has been a terrible time for so many, we are very lucky in that we were declared an essential service, and that we have been able to keep our green ambitions alive with products which are renewable, recyclable and biodegradable.’ When asked about the cost of going green and if expenses can be a limiting factor, Smurfit was unequivocal in his response. ‘It’s not a cost, but a long-term benefit for our planet. What our customers and our consumers are saying is that we can’t afford to not be sustainable. We look at the COVID-19 crisis as a real wake-up call; we have to take care of nature and we have to look after our planet.’

Smurfit 16june20 2

The sense of ‘taking care’ extends closer to home for Smurfit Kappa Group. With 46,000 employees in 35 countries, the company tracked 300 cases of COVID across its locations. Smurfit administered a survey, to which nearly half its workforce, 20,000 people, responded, and 90% did so to say the company was doing a positive or an excellent job of keeping its employees healthy during the pandemic. ‘While recovery will be a long time coming for many, I recognize that we are extremely fortunate, and that in this time, sustainability remains essential, and we continue to focus our efforts on it,’ Smurfit said.

About Smurfit Kappa

Smurfit Kappa is the No. 1 company in Europe producing corrugated packaging, containerboard and ‘bag in box’, and is the only Pan-American producer of containerboard and corrugated packaging.