The role of business in society is to help people improve their lives by providing products and services they value more highly than their alternatives, and to do so responsibly while consuming fewer resources. Georgia-Pacific has been helping people improve their lives for almost a century, providing solutions that create shelter, improve hygiene, offer convenience, extend shelf life, and protect goods in transit. We have been and continue to be an important part of the community, providing good jobs and contributing to prosperity through our economic activity and the engagement of our company and employees in civic and philanthropic activities. As Vice President of Sustainability at Georgia-Pacific, I am responsible for the company’s overall sustainability efforts. Being in a role that is directly tied to my passion for nature and conservation has brought me significant personal fulfillment and I’m proud of what this company has accomplished.
At Georgia-Pacific, we strive to be a preferred partner and drive continuous improvement to create sustainable outcomes that benefit society. This includes our customers, current and prospective employees, suppliers, people who live and work in the communities where we operate, and environmental groups whose mission intersects with our business model, among others. Each wants to be associated with companies that are ethical and responsible. In my conversations with these constituencies, I’ve heard five key themes that we have addressed in our 2020 Sustainability Highlights Report, which can be downloaded from GP’s website.
- Natural Resource Conservation – Forests provide value to society in many ways. They help protect air and water quality, supply important habitat for wildlife, and offer recreational opportunities. Though our business requires the use of this natural resource, we are committed to helping maintain healthy forests now and into the future by using resources more efficiently by sourcing responsibly, protecting endangered forests and special areas, and supporting wildlife conservation and biodiversity. David Brabham discusses our sustainable forestry practices and commitment to biodiversity in this video.
- Non-renewable Resource Use – Georgia-Pacific gives great attention to how non-renewables are consumed and works diligently to push the boundaries of what’s possible in terms of creative consumption. From energy use to bleaching technologies, we strive to responsibly produce the products our partners, consumers, and communities rely on.
- Emissions – Much like our approach to non-renewable resources, we apply transformative, technological solutions to our business and our clients’ businesses to help control emissions of all kinds. Through creative problem solving, we can reduce our environmental impact, so that the impact that’s truly felt is one of value. We do this in several key areas: air, waste, greenhouse gas, and water.
- Sustainability of Our Products – By creating highly valued products while minimizing our global impact, we offer our consumers and partners choices they can feel good about.
- Social Responsibility – We champion our employees, neighbors and customers through empowering, community-based programs that help improve the lives of those located wherever Georgia-Pacific serves.
Our focus is to make progress daily, improving performance by living a principle of stewardship, embracing creative destruction, improving efficiencies, eliminating waste, finding new ways of meeting needs, and driving conservation activities that leave more resources available to satisfy other needs in society. I hope you’ll join us on this journey.