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The Journey to Embedded Sustainability: International Paper

By 3p Contributor


By Will Rodbell

How does a company make the shift from a risk-focused sustainability approach to an approach where global citizenship is embedded into its business strategy? That’s the question at the core of the first episode of thinkPARALLAX’s new video series, Think and Drink.

In this first installment, thinkPARALLAX Co-Founder and Chief Creative Strategist Guusje Bendeler sits down with James McDonald, sustainability manager at International Paper, to talk candidly about the evolution of sustainability at International Paper, the world’s largest producer of packaging, pulp and paper.

“We’ve been on a sustainability journey for quite a while — almost two decades now,” McDonald says in the interview. “But about a year ago, we changed the whole paradigm within the company.”

In the video, McDonald talks about:

  • The evolution from risk mitigation to value creation

  • The shift to talking about global citizenship more inclusively — including not only people and planet, but also how it drives product innovation and business strategy

  • Engaging International Paper's diverse 55,000-employee workforce worldwide

  • Getting internal buy-in

  • Breaking down internal silos to create company-wide alignment with IP's strategy

  • The return on investment and measuring tangible vs. intangible

  • Figuring where and how to invest capital to address challenges and continue make the greatest impact

  • And more…
“At International Paper, we feel like we’ve got a pretty good story to tell,” McDonald says. “We use renewable resources, we use renewable energy in the manufacturing of our products, and the majority of our products are easily recyclable. But the actual sustainability story has been quite a journey.”

Watch the video and stay tuned for further Think and Drink episodes from thinkPARALLAX.

Each installment takes you outside the boardroom and around the world to reveal the successes, failures, and lessons learned from the brands leading organizational and societal change. At each stop you’ll hear insights and experiences from various thought leaders throughout the U.S. and world, on trending topics relating to purpose, sustainability and corporate citizenship communications.

For more info visit http://www.thinkparallax.com/perspectives/ or contact Will Rodbell at Will@thinkparallax.com

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