Building Strong Foundations
Our For Now and For Next sustainability strategy sets out our ambition to lead in the transition to a circular economy, from closing the loop through better design to driving carbon reduction; reducing waste and pollution to protecting natural resources.
As a responsible business that is putting sustainability at the heart, there are other material issues that we consider our “strong foundations” that we are continually building to help us to achieve our Purpose of “Redefining Packaging for a Changing World”.
Achieving Zero Water Impact
Water plays a critical role in our business, particularly in the paper production process. Fibres are transported through the production process, from pulp to paper, using water, and then superheated steam is used to dry the paper. Water is also used to dilute starch in our corrugated plants, which then bonds several layers of paper together to create board, and in all facilities for cooling machinery and cleaning. As a water-intensive business, it is important that we consume, recycle and treat the water we use responsibly and efficiently so that we minimise our impact when we return water to the natural environment and that we comply with all legislative requirements.
Although we directly impact the lives of approximately 32,000 employees, the scale of our business and our joined-up approach means we are able to tackle big challenges faced by the wider communities in which we operate and in which our employees live. As a caring and responsible business, we partner with our local communities.
Caring for our people
We do not tolerate any discrimination based on culture, nationality, race, religion, gender, gender identity,disability, sexual orientation or age. Our approach to diversity and inclusion is all about recognising that the ideal working environment is one which allows all our employees to perform at their best and develop to their full potential. We value diversity of gender, age and nationality as well as individual characteristics such as a broad life experience when evaluating diversity within DS Smith.
Whilst we prioritise the use of recycled fibres through our circular business model, a small amount of virgin fibres are required. However, to deliver truly sustainable value, whilst we consume virgin fibre today we must also protect the resources that our business will need tomorrow. When sourced from well-managed forests, harvested timber has vital social, environmental and economic benefits and can be a truly sustainable enterprise. However, we recognise that in some countries and regions there are issues with deforestation and illegal logging. Therefore we believe that supporting responsible and sustainable forestry is a matter of strategic importance for our industry.
Health and Safety
We recognise that our people and contractors work in environments which present real hazards. We strive to control those hazards through a risk-based approach using a hierarchy of control measures and we continuously aim to improve. Our employees are key in ensuring we operate safely and we address any concerns raised openly and promptly. Our long-term target is “zero accidents” and we set our key performance indicators to ensure that we continue towards that goal. Our safety performance has improved consistently, in terms of both accident frequency rates and severity, though we recognise that an injury to any of our people is unacceptable and hence safety remains a key focus for the Group.
We understand that to ensure the highest ethical standards we must look to form partnerships with our suppliers. The growing interest in commodity supply chains is part of a broader global trend. Organisations are expected to disclose much more information than ever before. Legislation such as the Companies Act, EU Timber Regulations, UK Modern Slavery Act 2015 and Equality Act 2010 plays a high-profile role in driving this transparency. In response, at DS Smith we are driving greater disclosure from our suppliers in order to better understand the entire supply chain and manage risks related to human rights, child labour, business ethics and environmental management. Each and every supplier of materials and/or services to DS Smith is expected to meet certain minimum standards, communicated through our Global Supplier Standards.