Sustainability is intrinsic to the way we do business at Mondi and central to our strategy for driving success now and in the long-term. Every year we publish a Sustainable Development report, our 2019 report was released a few weeks ago. In it we lay out Mondi’s 10 Growing Responsibly Action Areas where we believe our business can contribute to a better world.
The Growing Responsibly model is the framework through which we respond to sustainability challenges and opportunities. It’s how we seek to address societal changes, by contributing to the UN Sustainable Development Goals and other global initiatives. With 10 Action Areas and 16 public commitments running until 2020, we are able to demonstrate, monitor and improve our performance across the value chain as we look towards a more sustainable future.
MONDI’S TEN ACTION AREAS
Employee and contractor safety and health
Never has the health and safety of our employees been more important than during the COVID-19 outbreak. It’s a moral and a business imperative that we do all we can to ensure zero harm to our people – including employees, contractors and others on our sites. Our 24-hour safety mind-set reminds us that safety is something we do for ourselves and for our families, but also for our colleagues and their families as well.
A skilled and committed workforce
With approximately 26,000 employees across more than 30 countries, we depend on a talented and agile workforce to lead and innovate against a backdrop of changing technologies and the drive for sustainability. Our ambition is to empower our employees to reach their full potential, providing opportunities for personal and professional development. In 2019, the average training for Mondi employees was 31 hours per employee. Furthermore, Following feedback from employees that they wanted more support in career development, we increased the learning opportunities available through the Mondi Academy, including the launch of Digital Bootcamps in 2019 to enhance employees’ digital skills.
Fairness and diversity in the workplace
Our commitment to equality and human rights runs across our operations and supply chain. A diverse and inclusive workforce is key to innovation and enables us to meet the needs of global stakeholders, ensuring representation of local needs, and enhancing benefits to local communities. At our Group office in Vienna, we have partnered with myAbility, a social business that brings highly qualified students with disabilities into Mondi, offering them first hand experience while raising awareness and fostering a more inclusive workplace.
Ensuring forests are protected and managed sustainably is crucial, as the growing demand for wood fibre, in combination with a changing climate, puts the world’s forests under intense pressure. We aim to set the standard for responsible forestry in our global operations. Our forests, which are located in Russia and South Africa, are 100% FSC™ certified. 72% of wood procured by us is FSC or PEFCTM certified, with the remainder being Controlled Wood, ensuring responsible sourcing and transparency across the supply chain.
Despite international action, global emissions continue to rise, impacting biodiversity, ecosystem services and economic development. Our efforts in the transition to a low-carbon economy are supported by the adoption of science-based greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction targets, committing us to reducing scope 1 and 2 emissions to 34% by 2025 and 72% by 2050. We are already on our way to achieving this, having invested around €700 million on improving energy efficiency across our mills since 2013, including new biomass boilers at our mills in Syktyvkar (Russia) and Świecie (Poland).
Constrained resources and environmental impacts
Our sustainable business model is focused on driving efficiency to ensure we are using raw materials and energy fairly and responsibly. At our Merebank mill in South Africa, for example, we re-use community waste water for industrial purposes after it has been treated, contributing to local, national and regional goals for managing water supply. We also have a goal of zero waste to landfill and we are working closely with partners such as the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, WWF, the New Plastics Economy Initiative and The Confederation of European Paper Industries to support the transition to a circular economy.
Biodiversity and ecosystems
Forests are home to up to 80% of the world’s land-based animal and plant species and provide valuable ecosystem services. We manage around 2.1 million hectares of natural forestry lands in Russia and 254,000 hectares of plantation forestry lands in South Africa, with about 24% set aside for conservation and protection of biodiversity and ecosystem services. Last year, we worked with WWF Bulgaria to restore a natural riparian forest on degraded land near our Stambolijski mill. Our Working Forest model integrates productive renewable forest sites with effective ecological networks to ensure thriving biodiversity, water and other ecosystem services, with the ultimate goal of maintaining and increasing their natural and social capital.
Supplier conduct and responsible procurement
A responsible, inclusive and sustainable supply-chain is central to our business model. We use our responsible procurement process and work collaboratively with suppliers to encourage greater transparency, promote fair working conditions and manage risks across the supply chain. We want to bring about meaningful change across issues like labour rights, carbon emissions and water stewardship. We continued the roll out of our responsible procurement process in 2019, with 50% of our key suppliers screened to identify those with high risk related to labour rights, climate change, water and biodiversity. We then engage and work with these suppliers to resolve or effectively mitigate risks.
Relationships with communities
We play an important role in local communities – creating employment, business opportunities and investing in local infrastructure. We want to maximise the value created and we do this by delivering our investments and initiatives in partnership with local stakeholders wherever possible. In 2019, we invested €13.1m in community initiatives, including ‘Project Regiochem’ in Slovakia to promote STEM education to pupils aged 6 to 15.
Solutions that create value for our customers
There is no single route towards sustainability – it is about finding the best solutions for our customers, their products and the planet. As a leader in packaging and paper, we are uniquely positioned to offer packaging solutions that are fit for purpose and support sustainability goals using our customer-centric EcoSolutions approach. Our patented paper-based MailerBAG, for example, provides a fully recyclable alternative to plastic shipping bags as e-commerce continues to rise.
BarrierPack Recyclable provides sustainable solution for dishwasher tablet packaging
Saturday 21st March 2020 marks the International Day of Forests and, while the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic means that initiatives to raise awareness are likely not to be at the forefront of people's minds, it’s worth taking a moment to acknowledge the vital role of forests across the globe, particularly in tackling the climate crisis.